Last chance to see Arrol Exhibition at Paisley Heritage Centre

The exhibition Sir William Arrol: A Renfrewshire Connection, is due to finish in the next couple of days.  If you haven’t already been along to the Paisley Heritage Centre to see it you have until this Saturday.

Exhibition Board The exhibition has been mounted by Friends of Seafield House to coincide with the 2015 meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Germany. The exhibition gives the background to UNESCO World Heritage nominations and why, in particular the Forth Bridge was a worthy submission.  When it was announced on the 5th July that the Forth Bridge was to become a World Heritage Site we had to make a quick addition to the display.  Being optimistic that it would be a positive result, we were well prepared and had stickers already made up with the winning announcement.

The exhibition is also a celebration of Sir William’s strong connections with Renfrewshire. He was born in the village of Houston and grew up in Paisley, and the exhibition tells of his early career as a blacksmith and engineer there. It also looks at the manufacturer of  Arrol-Johnston cars in Paisley and Sir William Arrol’s connections to the earliest motor cars built in the UK. Sir William Arrol never forgot his roots and when he died his body was carried from his home at Seafield House in Ayr to Woodside Cemetery in Paisley, where he was buried.

As well as the FoSH display boards, the Heritage Centre have provided a display of resources from their archives and have set up iPads with links to relevant websites, so visitors to the exhibition will be able to find out more about Sir William Arrol and the Forth Bridge.

See the Heritage Centre webpage for opening times and contact details.

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Forth Bridge inscribed as World Heritage Site

The Forth Bridge was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee today in Bonn, Germany, making it Scotland’s 6th World Heritage Site.

Friends of Seafield House had fully supported the bid for World Heritage status and are delighted by the announcement.

Photograph of the Forth Bridge

Discussions started with a presentation by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) which described the situation, bridge structure and context of the bid in relation to the criteria for OUV (Outstanding Universal Value). It was proposed that the bridge be inscribed under critera (i) and (iv).

(i) “represents a masterpiece of human creative genius”

(iv) “is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history”

ICOMOS presentation

ICOMOS presentation

Image of the Conference theatre full of committee members

World Heritage Committee

 

 

 

The bid received overwhelming support from the committee who welcomed the inscription of the bridge as an outstanding example of engineering design. One member supported the inscription, pleased to see that it was from an under-represented category in the list. Another member referred to a 20 year old report which had drawn up a list of potential World Heritage bridges, including the Forth Bridge. There was so much praise for the bridge, it’s significance in the history of rail transport and civil engineering, and it’s aesthetic value, that there was an underlying impression that the bid for the Forth Bridge was long in coming. Many of the comments gave praise to Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker’s innovative design and also Sir William Arrol’s advanced construction techniques. These were some of the other comments on the Forth Bridge offered by the committee:

“Tall and formidable testament to the genius of man”

“A crucible for the application of new design principles in civil engineering”

“Masterpiece of civil engineering”

“Engineering wonder of the word”

“Stunning engineering marvel”

“Impressive milestone in design and construction methods”

Members of the committee also praised the quality of the nomination documents, saying how well prepared they had been, concise and convincing and to be held up as an exemplary for future bid submissions. Some concern was shown over ensuring protection of the views and of the structure itself. ICOMOS commented that a report was being mapped out for submission by 31 December 2015 which would review the immediate environs of the bridge and a radius of 20km around it. This would identify main vista points and ensure that controls were in place to favour protection of the bridge and the lines of site around these vistas.

Footage of the meeting can be found on the Records webpage of the 39th session of the Committee for Jul 5, 2015.