Victorian plan for Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge may have been a wild ride – leader comment

The Victorians came up with the idea of a link between Scotland and Northern Ireland long before Boris Johnson
The Victorians came up with the idea of a link between Scotland and Northern Ireland long before Boris Johnson
Share this article
0
Have your say

Boris Johnson’s plan for a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland was suggested as long ago as 1869, although passengers on the proposed submerged tubular bridge would have had to be made of stern stuff.

The judgement of history upon the Victorians has not been kind. The chronicler of the age, Charles Dickens, even had his name turned into an adjective meaning squalid or poverty-stricken. However, it’s probably fair to say they had the bold self-confidence that, for some people, modern Britain lacks.

So it’s not surprising that politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg have sought to rehabilitate them.

His book The Victorians: Twelve Titans who Forged Britain may have been described as “staggeringly silly” by AN Wilson, but surely they must have had some great ideas that could inspire us today.

READ MORE: Book review: The Victorians by AN Wilson

For unlimited access to Scotland’s best news, sport and expert analysis, SUBSCRIBE to The Scotsman website here

Turns out that a proposal for a bridge between Scotland and Ireland – recently suggested by Boris Johnson – was foreshadowed as long ago as 1869. It was definitely bold. And passengers may have needed to be too.

One plan was for a submerged tubular bridge. The rear of the trains would have been designed to act “as a piston that in case of an inrush of water, the train might be forced out of the tube”. See what we could achieve with a bit of more Victorian spirit, a bit less of this ‘health and safety’ tosh?