City firm engineers a winning bid for Forth Bridge plans

AN engineering firm has bought the original blueprints of the Forth Bridge at an auction.

Engineering and development consultants Halcrow completed the purchase of original Plans and Sections of the Forth Bridge this week.

The history of the Edinburgh firm, which dates back to 1868, was already intrinsically linked to the rail bridge.

The drawings were used by engineer Patrick Meik. It was his father Thomas Meik who founded Halcrow in the 19th century.

The documents will be kept in the company's Abercromby Place location in Edinburgh, just a short distance from where Thomas Meik's original offices were located in York Place.

As resident engineer Patrick Meik was tasked with supervising the extensive piers and foundation works of the Forth Bridge.

He used plans drawn up by chief designer Sir Benjamin Baker in 1881, and maps of the full line from Edinburgh to Fife, and contract drawings containing 26 detailed plans of the bridge structure drawn in 1882.

The plans, purchased at auction for an undisclosed amount, include several pencil sketches clearly marked "Mr Meik's copy".

Ron Beard, head of Halcrow's Edinburgh office, said: "The Forth Bridge must be considered one of the world's greatest engineering achievements and even now, 115 years after it was completed, it is still a marvel.

"These drawings are meticulously crafted and extremely rare and, considering Halcrow's heritage, we are proud to have been able to acquire part of our own and Scotland's engineering history.

"Without such designs, Halcrow would not be the company it is today. Our reputation for engineering is built on the work carried out by Thomas Meik and his sons Patrick and Charles."

George Pettigrew, regional managing director for Halcrow Scotland, added: "I think it is important that plans like these are kept in Scotland where they will be valued and cherished by people like-minded to those who drew them up all those years ago."