Historic civil engineering artefacts available to view in virtual tour

Hannah Smith

MEMBERS of the public are being given the chance to view some of Scotland’s most historic civil engineering memorabilia online, thanks to the work of the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland Museum in Edinburgh.

The collection features over 500 items, including original Thomas Telford letters and specimens of iron from the Union Chain Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge span when built over the River Tweed in 1820.

The museum, based at Heriot Watt University, is the only one of its kind in the UK. It also includes a hydraulic riveting machine used to construct the Forth Bridge as well as surveying and drawing instruments.

David McGuigan, chair of the museum’s management committee said, “The cancellation of September’s Edinburgh Doors Open Day event acted as a spur to produce this virtual tour and is a great way of promoting our unique museum to a truly global audience.

“The collection forms a vital part of Scotland’s civil engineering heritage and includes items relating to civil engineers who have shaped the world. One of my personal favourites is a brass water flow meter (c.1864) made for the ‘Lighthouse Stevensons’, David and Charles Stevenson from Edinburgh.

“As ever, we continue to collect for the museum and if anyone has items relating to civil engineering and is willing to donate them, please get in touch with us at https://ice-museum-scotland.hw.ac.uk/.”

ICE Scotland director Hannah Smith added, “There are some truly iconic pieces of work on display here and although the virtual tour is great, I would encourage people to see them in person as soon as it is safe to do so.”