Scottish Government
Printable version

Forth Bridge Scotland’s Sixth World Heritage Site

125 year old bridge recognised as UNESCO Site

The Forth Bridge has been officially inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn.

The world-famous bridge is Scotland’s sixth World Heritage site, joining Edinburgh Old and New Towns, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark, the Antonine Wall and St Kilda.

The 125-year-old cantilever bridge spans the Firth of Forth on the east coast of Scotland and is known as one of the industrial wonders of the world.

When it was constructed it was one of the most ambitious projects of its kind ever attempted, and at its peak, more than 4,500 men were employed building it, with construction taking eight years to complete.

The bid for World Heritage Status was taken forward by the Forth Bridges Forum, established by the Scottish Government to promote the three Forth Bridges.

Welcoming UNESCO’s decision to inscribe the bridge, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The Forth Bridge is known as one of the industrial wonders of the world, and it is fitting it has been recognised as one of Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites. I congratulate everyone involved in this bid.

“The Forth Bridge’s Inscription as a World Heritage Site is an honour, and true recognition of the Bridge’s unique place in Scotland’s history.

“Spanning two and a half kilometres and comprising 53,000 tonnes of mild steel, the Forth Bridge is a monument to innovative industry and engineering. Its giant double-cantilever towers, with their powerful yet graceful design, are recognised the world over.

“The Forth Bridge is an outstanding example of Scotland’s built heritage and its endurance is testament not only to the ingenuity of those who designed and built it but also to the generations of painters, engineers and maintenance crews who have looked after it through the years.

“The Scottish Government, its agencies, individuals and organisations across the country work together to ensure our diverse historic environment – from the industrial heritage of the Forth Bridge and New Lanark to the Neolithic Heart of Orkney – is understood, valued, cared for and protected now, and for future generations.”

David Dickson, infrastructure director, Network Rail said:

“Network Rail, as owner of the bridge, is honoured by UNESCO’s decision to inscribe the Forth Bridge as a World Heritage Site.

“The Forth Bridge is a prime example of civil engineering and an iconic structure, not only in Scotland but across the world.

“The awarding of the inscription is the culmination of a great deal of planning from a wide range of organisations and a testament to the hard work and dedication of those who built and continue to maintain the bridge.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said:

“The Forth Bridge being awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status is an outstanding achievement and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in putting together the successful application.

“As far as potential visitors to Scotland are concerned, World Heritage Site status lends even greater aura and appeal to one of the planet’s most instantly recognisable landmarks. And the timing is perfect as, in 2016, this country will celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and you would be hard-pushed to find a better example of all three qualities anywhere in the world than in the Forth Bridge.”

Notes To Editors

Forth Bridges Forum

Led by Transport Scotland, the Forth Bridges Forum is a partnership of major public sector bodies and infrastructure owners with common interests in the bridges and the local communities. The Forum is committed to the successful management and promotion of the Forth Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and forthcoming Queensferry Crossing for the economic benefit of local communities and Scotland as a whole. In conjunction with community groups and partner members, the Forth Bridges Forum led the nomination bid for inscribing the Forth Bridge as a World Heritage Site. Members of the Forth Bridges Forum include: Historic Scotland, VisitScotland, Network Rail, Amey, City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council, West Lothian Council and Transport Scotland. For more information on the Forum, visit the website at

Our Place in Time, Scotland’s Strategy for the Historic Environment

The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland, Our Place in Time, was published on 4 March 2014. Collaboratively developed, the Strategy was a response to calls for a cohesive approach to the protection and promotion of the historic environment in all its forms, that went beyond the planning system or any one organisations priorities. The Strategy belongs, not to Government or one organisation but to the people of Scotland. It sets out a common vision, definition and desired outcomes for the historic environment and has a set of overarching principles and strategic objectives. These will help achieve the vision to better understand, protect and value our historic environment now and for future generations. Further information is available at

World Heritage Status

There are just over a thousand sites on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage List – places that have been agreed to have internationally significant cultural or natural heritage, whose outstanding universal value transcends national boundaries and are important for all of us and for future generations alike. Further information is available at

The Forth Bridge was nominated in January 2014 as Scotland’s sixth World Heritage Site. At its 39th annual session, in Bonn, Germany, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe the bridge. Further information is available at

There are five other World Heritage Sites in Scotland. These are the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, the Antonine Wall, the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, New Lanark, and St Kilda. Each managed under a distinctive model involving national and local bodies, communities and individuals and national and local government. Further information on these are available at .


Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
Scottish Government