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Tay Bridge Disaster - 28 Dec. 1879, Dundee, Scotland

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Image above Catastrophe du pont sur le Tay - 1879 - Unknown author Wiki

The Tay Bridge Disaster occurred during a storm on Sunday 28 December 1879, when the first Tay Rail Bridge collapsed as a train from Burntisland to Dundee passed over it, killing all aboard. The bridge—designed by Sir Thomas Bouch—used lattice girders supported by iron piers, with cast iron columns and wrought iron cross-bracing. The piers were narrower and their cross-bracing was less extensive and robust than on previous similar designs by Bouch.

There are many webpages giving full accounts of the disaster and so the purpose of this project is not to re-write what can be read elsewhere, (see References below), but to try to build family trees for those known to have died in the disaster.

Poem by William Topaz McGonagall

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say That ninety lives have been taken away On the last Sabbath day of 1879, Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

‘Twas about seven o’clock at night, And the wind it blew with all its might, And the rain came pouring down, And the dark clouds seem’d to frown, And the Demon of the air seem’d to say- “I’ll blow down the Bridge of Tay.”

When the train left Edinburgh The passengers’ hearts were light and felt no sorrow, But Boreas blew a terrific gale, Which made their hearts for to quail, And many of the passengers with fear did say- “I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay.”

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay, Boreas he did loud and angry bray, And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay On the last Sabbath day of 1879, Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might, And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight, And the passengers’ hearts felt light, Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year, With their friends at home they lov’d most dear, And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov’d slowly along the Bridge of Tay, Until it was about midway, Then the central girders with a crash gave way, And down went the train and passengers into the Tay! The Storm Fiend did loudly bray, Because ninety lives had been taken away, On the last Sabbath day of 1879, Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown, And the cry rang out all o’er the town, Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down, And a passenger train from Edinburgh, Which fill’d all the peoples hearts with sorrow, And made them for to turn pale, Because none of the passengers were sav’d to tell the tale How the disaster happen’d on the last Sabbath day of 1879, Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight, To witness in the dusky moonlight, While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray, Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay, Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay, I must now conclude my lay By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay, That your central girders would not have given way, At least many sensible men do say, Had they been supported on each side with buttresses, At least many sensible men confesses, For the stronger we our houses do build, The less chance we have of being killed.



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Tay Bridge Disaster memorial Full Size

Erected in December 2013, this memorial alongside the Fife Coastal Path gives a brief description of the tragic Tay Bridge accident of December 1879 and lists the names of all those known to have died in it.

Images above and below © Copyright James Allan and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

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Victims

... of the Tay Bridge Disaster, Sunday, 28th December, 1879

Bold Links are to Geni profiles; others are to external webpages.

Scotland's People reference - St Mary District

Surname; Forename; Age; Occupation; Address

Joseph Low Anderson

Compositor 13, South Ellen Street

ANDERSON JOSEPH 20 1880 282/2 308


  • Annan Thomas 20 Iron turner 48, Princes Street

ANNAN THOMAS ROSS 21 1880 282/2 270


Archibald Bain

26 Farmer Mains of Balgay
BAIN ARCHIBALD 27 1880 282/2 62


Jessie Bain

22 sister of above Mains of Balgay
BAIN JESSIE 22 1880 282/2 147


William Henry Beynon

n/a Photographer Cheltenham
BEYNON WILLIAM HENRY 40 1880 282/2 119


  • Brown Lizzie 14 Tobacco spinner 28, Arbroath Road

BROWN ELIZABETH HENDR 14 1880 282/2 373

  • Cheap Mrs 51 Domestic Servant 121, High Street, Lochee

Possibly (only one Cheape registered) CHEAPE EUPHEMIA 54 1880 282/2 371

  • Crichton James n/a Ploughman Mains of Fintry

CRICHTON JAMES 22 1880 282/2 74

  • Cruickshank Annie 54 Domestic Servant Moray Place, Edinburgh

CRUICKSHANKS ANN 53 1880 282/2 109

  • Culross Robert n/a Carpenter Newport

CULROSS ROBERT 25 1880 282/2 196

  • Cunningham David 21 Mason 23, Pitalpin Street, Lochee

CUNNINGHAM DAVID 20 1880 282/2 53



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Thomas Davidson

28 Farm servant Linlathen

DAVIDSON THOMAS 29 1880 282/2 56


  • Easton Mrs n/a Widow n/a

EASTON MARY M MONTGOME 53 1880 282/2


Robert Fowlis aka Dewar,

21 Mason 23, Pitalpin Street, Lochee
FOWLIS ROBERT 20 1880 282/2 57


  • Graham David 37 Teacher Stirling

Only 1 entry in St. Mary - GRAHAM DAVID 26 1880 282/2 383

  • Hamilton John 32 Grocer 16, North Ellen Street

HAMILTON JOHN 32 1880 282/2 376

  • Henderson James 22 Labourer 3, Church Street

HENDERSON JAMES FOSTER 22 1880 282/2 67

  • Hendry Elizabeth 62 n/a Prior Road, Forfar

HENDRY ELIZABETH 61 1880 282/2 372

  • Jack William H n/a Grocer 57, Mains Road

JACK WILLIAM 23 1880 282/2 20

  • Jobson David 39 Oil and colour merchant 3, Airlie Place

JOBSON DAVID 41 1880 282/2 141

  • Johnston David 24 Railway Guard Edinburgh

JOHNSTON DAVID 30 1880 282/2 66

  • Johnston George 25 Mechanic n/a

JOHNSTON GEORGE 24 1880 282/2 71

  • Kinnear Margaret 17 Domestic Servant 6, Shore Terrace

KINNEAR MARGARET 18 1880 282/2 280

  • Lawson John 25 Plasterer 39, Lilybank Road

LAWSON JOHN 25 1880 282/2 89

  • Leslie James 22 Clerk Baffin Street

LESSLIE JAMES 21 1880 282/2 83

  • 30 Marshall John 24 Stoker 18, Hunter Street

MARSHALL JOHN 24 1880 282/2 93

  • McBeath David 44 Railway Guard 46, Castle Street

MCBETH DAVID 44 1880 282/2 76

  • Macdonald David 11 Schoolboy 70, Blackness Road

MCDONALD DAVID 11 1880 282/2 77

  • Macdonald William 41 Sawmiller 70, Blackness Road

MCDONALD WILLIAM 41 1880 282/2 21

  • McIntosh George 43 Goods Guard 25, Hawkhill

MCINTOSH GEORGE 43 1880 282/2 139


  • Millar James n/a Flax Dresser Dysart

MILLAR JAMES 27 1880 282/2 17

  • Milne Elizabeth n/a Dressmaker n/a

MILNE ELIZABETH 21 1880 282/2 341

  • Mitchell David 37 Engine Driver 89, Peddie Street

MITCHELL DAVID 37 1880 282/2 176

  • Murdoch James 21 Engineer 1, Thistle Street

MURDOCH JAMES 21 1880 282/2 113

  • Murray Donald 49 Mail Guard 13, South Ellen Street

MURRAY DONALD 49 1880 282/2 374


Isabella Neish aka Bella

5 daughter of David 51, Coupar Street, Lochee

NEISH ISABELLA MARY 5 1880 282/2 87

Death Registration


David Neish

37 Teacher and Registrar 51, Coupar Street, Lochee

NEISH DAVID 37 1880 282/2 84

Death Registration

  • Parents: John (Brewer) and Ann Brown - both deceased
  • Married to Ann Law

  • Neilson William 31 n/a 53, Monk Street, Gateshead

NELSON WILLIAM 31 1880 282/2 457


George Ness

21 Engine Cleaner Ogilvy Street, Tayport

NESS GEORGE 21 1880 282/2 79
George Ness was married to Ann Brand of Tayport.

http://www.brand-dd.com/forth.html



  • Ness Walter 24 Saddler 4, Bain Square, Wellgate

NESS WALTER 23 1880 282/2 64

  • Nicoll Mrs Elizabeth 24 n/a 46, Bell Street

NICOLL ELIZABETH 24 1880 282/2 347

  • Paton James 42 Mechanic Edinburgh

Not found

  • Peebles James 15 Apprentice Grocer Newport

PEEBLES JAMES 16 1880 282/2 267

  • Peebles William 30-40 n/a n/a

PEEBLES WILLIAM 38 1880 282/2 78

  • Robertson Alexander 23 Labourer 100, Foundry Lane

ROBERTSON ALEXANDER 22 1880 282/2 72

  • Robertson William 21 Labourer 100, Foundry Lane

ROBERTSON WILLIAM 21 1880 282/2 309

  • Salmond Peter 43 Blacksmith 50, Princes Street

SALMOND PETER GREIG 44 1880 282/2 115

  • Scott David 26 Goods Guard 7, Yeaman Shore

SCOTT DAVID 26 1880 282/2 394

  • Scott John 30 Pipe Maker n/a

SCOTT JOHN 30 1880 282/2 68

  • Sharp John 35 Joiner 76, Commercial Street

SHARP JOHN 33 1880 282/2 73

  • Smart Elizabeth 22 Domestic Servant Union Mount, Perth Road

SMART ELIZA 24 1880 282/2 380

  • Spence Annie 21 Weaver 62, Kemback Street

SPENCE ANN 22 1880 282/2 379



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Robert Frederick Syme listed as David

22 Clerk Royal Hotel, Nethergate
(Only SYME entry found in St. Mary) SYME ROBERT FREDERIC 22 1880 282/2 60


  • Taylor George 25 Mason 56, Union Street

TAYLOR GEORGE 25 1880 282/2 193

  • Threlfell William 18 Confectioner 9, Union Street

THRELFELL WILLIAM 19 1880 282/2 16

  • Veitch William 18 Cabinetmaker 39, Church Street

VEITCH WILLIAM 18 1880 282/2 65

  • Watson David n/a Commission Agent Newport

WATSON DAVID 22 1880 282/2 15


David Watson

9 son of Robert 12, Lawrence Street

WATSON DAVID 9 1880 282/2 55


Robert Watson

34 Moulder 12, Lawrence Street
WATSON ROBERT 34 1880 282/2 14


Robert Watson

6 son of Robert 12, Lawrence Street

WATSON ROBERT 7 1880 282/2 54


References

Publications

  • Prebble J. (1979) The High Girders. Penguin.
  • Thomas J. (1970) The Tay Bridge Disaster David and Charles, Newton Abbot.

Further Reading

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