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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 01:25 GMT
Bridge death toll becomes clearer
Forth Rail Bridge
Experts are still investigating the exact death toll
Historians have established that at least 71 people died during the building of the Forth Rail Bridge.

However, they said they were still looking into the deaths of about a dozen more people.

The research by members of the Queensferry History Group has been linked to plans to set up a permanent Forth Bridge memorial.

For years the number of fatalities was put at 57, but researchers said it could rise to more than 80.

Leaders of communities at both ends of the crossing have been talking to organisations like the Scottish Arts Council and Edinburgh City Council about a memorial.

'Engineering marvel'

A spokesman said that final decisions had yet to be taken, but they were determined to remember the workers who died during the construction of the link.

The crossing was built in the late 19th century and was considered an engineering marvel, but working conditions were dangerous.

The youngest person to die during building work was only 13.

Hazards were made worse because nothing like today's safety regulations were in force.

Some victims' descendants have offered information to the history group after members made a plea for help.

Local workers

They have also received enquiries from people seeking the updated list of names of the dead, who ranged from "rivet catchers" to painters who mostly came from Britain or Ireland.

Some were recruited from communities close to both ends of the world famous Victorian landmark linking South Queensferry and Fife.

German engineer Wilhelm Westhofen kept a tally of those who died but historians believed there had been a cover-up.

The one-and-a-half mile bridge was made up of 55,000 tons of steel, 18,000 cubic metres of granite and eight million rivets. Construction began in 1883 and at its peak 4,600 men worked on the link.




SEE ALSO:
Bridge death inquiry gains pace
02 Apr 05 |  Scotland
Rail bridge shuts for repair
04 Jul 03 |  Scotland
Repairs close historic bridge
01 Apr 03 |  Scotland
Facelift in store for rail bridge
27 May 02 |  Scotland


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