Photographer's Note

Known throughout the land as the "Worst Poet whoever Lived", Willam Topaz McGonagall wrote the following inspiring lines after the opening of the first rail bridge across the River Tay estuary in 1877:

"BEAUTIFUL Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array
And your central girders, which seem to the eye
To be almost towering to the sky.
The greatest wonder of the day,
And a great beautification to the River Tay,
Most beautiful to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
That has caused the Emperor of Brazil to leave
His home far away, incognito in his dress,
And view thee ere he passed along en route to Inverness.

"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
The longest of the present day
That has ever crossed o'er a tidal river stream,
Most gigantic to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
Which will cause great rejoicing on the opening day
And hundreds of people will come from far away,
Also the Queen, most gorgeous to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
And prosperity to Provost Cox, who has given
Thirty thousand pounds and upwards away
In helping to erect the Bridge of the Tay,
Most handsome to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
I hope that God will protect all passengers
By night and by day,
And that no accident will befall them while crossing
The Bridge of the Silvery Tay,
For that would be most awful to be seen
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

"Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
And prosperity to Messrs Bouche and Grothe,
The famous engineers of the present day,
Who have succeeded in erecting the Railway
Bridge of the Silvery Tay,
Which stands unequalled to be seen
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green."


Alas, Thomas Bouche's bridge, which when built was the longest in the World, was not to last and in December, 1879, its central part collapsed in a storm with the loss of the lives of all passengers on the train which was crossing it. Not surprisingly, McGonagall was again up for it and composed another of his delightful poems. If you look here you can see a photograph of this bridge from the other side and also read McGonagall's poem about the "Tay Bridge Disaster".

The bridge was subsequently rebuilt by a different engineer and, not surprisingly, because of the disaster, Thomas Bouche was removed from the group of engineers who, at the time, were commencing building the now much more iconic bridge across the River Forth.

Taken from the Dundee side of the river, this photograph was shot in RAW and converted and edited in PSE6.

As always, all comments/critiques/advice are very welcome!

Glint, saxo042, annjackman, finlay has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1985 W: 427 N: 7659] (30513)
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