Former Kirkcaldy diver shares his Forth Road Bridge memories on TV

Jim Sinclair in his diving gear in the 1960s
Jim Sinclair in his diving gear in the 1960s

A Kirkcaldy man who helped build the Forth Road Bridge, which opened to the public in 1964, is taking part in a new BBC documentary about the iconic structure.

Jim Sinclair (79) was chief diver on the project at the time and his role was to lead his team in excavating the foundations on which the supporting pillars now stand.

He is one of many of those associated with the bridge who have contributed towards the programme which celebrates the 50th anniversary of what is one of Scotland’s best-known landmarks.

He said: “I was approached to take part in this new BBC documentary as I had previously featured on a similar film called 40 Ferries a few years ago.

“The BBC visited me at home and I recounted my time working on the bridge. I was around 25 at the time and I enjoyed it, but it was a lot of hard work!”

“Working as a diver meant that we did a lot of the ground work for the engineers working above the water,” Mr Sinclair continued.

“It wasn’t my first job as a diver, as I had been working in a similar position out in South Africa where I lived for 16 years, and the Persian Gulf, but I do look back fondly on my time on the Forth.”,

Amateur film-maker Jim Hendry, now aged 88, was given full access to record and document the construction of the bridge, which took six years to build from start to finish, and was officially opened by the Queen on September 4, 1964.

Televised for the first time, the documentary shares the memories and stories of the people who built the bridge, the largest in Europe at the time, and how those who lived on either side of the Forth were affected by the construction and its opening.

Lillian King, Forth Bridge historian, said: “It absolutely transformed the country and its trade.

“When you think about the volume of traffic that goes across the bridge now and has done so since the beginning, people must have been desperate to get it open.”

‘The Bridge: Fifty Years Across the Forth’ airs on BBC One Scotland on Sunday, August 31, at 7.00 p.m.


The Forth Road bridge festival runs from September 4-13 and features many events including:

Scrapbook and art exhibitions, cruises, live shows, street party and a fireworks display and the Forth Bridge 50th party and torchlight procession.

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