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view document PDF (3.6Mb download)Tay Bridge Disaster: Appendix to the Report Of The Court of Inquiry

Document Summary

The appendix to the report of the Inquiry into the collapse of the Tay Bridge. The appendix includes a large number of drawings of the bridge, and calculations of the result of wind pressure on the structure.

This document was published on 4th August 1880 by Board of Trade.

It was written by Board of Trade.

This item is linked to the Accident at Tay Bridge on 28th December 1879

The original document format was Scanned Images, and comprised 70 pages.

This document was kindly sourced from Colin Holmes and is in our Accident inquiry documents collection. It was added to the Archive on 10th February 2006.

Copyright Information

This document is Crown Copyright, and is subject to the terms governing the reproduction of crown copyright material. Depending on the status and age of the original document, you may need an OPSI click-use license if you wish to reproduce this material, and other restrictions may apply. Please see this explanation for further details.


In obedience to the instructions contained in your communication of the 22nd of January 1880, I have now the honour to lay before you the following report, embodying the information which I have been able to obtain upon those matters which have a bearing on the casualty which occurred to the Tay Bridge on the night of the 28th of December 1879.

In accordance with your subsequent instructions, in the present report I have confined my attention exclusively to that portion of the bridge which has fallen... would result that a lateral pressure against the columns would produce movement in the struts and ties, resulting in the latter becoming slack. And this movement actually did take place, in some of the tie bars still standing I found packing pieces of iron a quarter of an inch in thickness had been introduced between the gibs and cotters, and on inquiry I learned that these had been introduced from time to time since the opening of the bridge.

...The slackening of these ties and struts means the removal of that condition upon which alone the power of the structure to resist being overthrown by a lateral pressure depends. And it is easy to conceive that a storm of the violent character of that of the 28th of last December would produce such movements, in the connections of these struts and ties with the columns, as would render the columns unable to sustain the additional weight of the train and the lateral pressure of the wind."

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