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Our Scottish Connection

24th January 2017 • Tower Bridge Blog

Our Scottish Connection

With Burns Night being celebrated tomorrow, we’re reminded of Tower Bridge’s connection to Scotland! Did you know that despite being over 300 miles apart, the link to our Scottish neighbours dates right back to our construction in the late 1800s?

The iconic stonework of Tower Bridge hides an impressive steel skeleton forming the main structure, which was constructed by the Scottish civil engineering company, Sir William Arrol & co. They were based in Glasgow and had built some of the UK’s most famous bridges including the Forth Bridge and Tay Rail Bridge.

We hadn’t, however, realised quite how many Scots had worked onsite at this time but our recent research into the Arrol workers has shown just how many moved down from Scotland to build Tower Bridge, using the bridge-building skills gained from the Tay and Forth bridges. People like John Merker who worked as a Crane Driver, lifting the heavy materials to the top of the bridge, and John Black the driller, who drilled some of the estimated 3 million rivet holes required to hold up the massive internal steel frame. The number of experienced bridge builders working on Tower Bridge has been credited as the reason for so few injuries during its construction.

Interested in finding about more about the people of Tower Bridge? Try our People of Tower Bridge blog post. 

Sophie Jordan

Education and Marketing Assistant

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