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Briggers Memorial & Guardian of the Bridges

South Queensferry

Contrasting Symbols

The Briggers Memorial and the Guardian of the Bridges sit nearby at either end of the esplanade.

They are an interesting juxtaposition; one is a poignant reminder of the losses during the construction of The Forth Bridge and, the other, is a bright symbol of hope from the local community.

Both are worth a visit, along with the popular Seal Sculpture as you explore South Queensferry.

Briggers Memorial

The Briggers memorial is a tribute to the men and boys (the youngest casualty was just 13 years old) who died during the construction of the iconic Forth Bridge. It stands at the intersection of Newhalls and Longcraig Roads and bears the inscription “To the Briggers, past and present who built, restored and continue to maintain this iconic structure.” There is an identical monument on the other side of the bridge in North Queensferry.

When the memorial was being considered, four local historians based in South Queensferry were approached to provide the names of the Briggers. In the absence of an official list, this seemingly simple request set off years of painstaking research. The team trawled through newspaper accounts, death certificates and other sources to compile a complete record of the men and boys who perished during construction.

The research unearthed lots of other information about the lives of the Briggers so the group (joined by a designer, a writer and two genealogists) set about writing it up and presenting it alongside original photos. The resulting book ‘The Briggers’ is a fascinating insight into the experiences of the Briggers – where they came from, their living and working conditions, and the impact they had. It tells the story of the daily commute from Edinburgh, the 200 pints lined up on the bar of the Hawes Inn at the end of a shift, and even a visit from the Shah of Persia.

This research is hugely significant. It has enriched our understanding of the heritage of the bridge and more importantly, given it a human voice. We are grateful to Frank Hay, Jenni Meldrum, Len Saunders, Jim Walker, Elspeth Wills, Gordon Muir and Tom Martin for their important contribution to our understanding of the history of the bridge.

Guardian of the Bridges

In contrast to the sombre tone of the memorial, the nearby “Guardian of the Bridges” was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge. This characterful mosaic creature, nicknamed Nessie by locals, was based on designs and mosaics created by Queensferry school children. A true community project, over 700 people were involved in the creation of this public art installation.

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Visiting The Briggers Memorial and Guardian of the Bridges

Useful information
  • Briggers Memorial | 4 Newhalls Road, EH30 9TA
  • Guardian of the Bridges | McIvers Brae
Find out more about The Briggers >

Forth Bridges Trail

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About the Bridges

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More See & Do

South Queensferry
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