Our work with Leigh Paints inevitably led us to think about the historic Forth Railway Bridge. A celebrated Scottish landmark connecting Edinburgh with Fife, it’s endless paint job is perhaps the most famous in the world.

The bridge was the first major structure in Britain to be made of steel, consisting of three double cantilevers with two 1700ft suspended spans between them.

Officially opened in March 1890, the bridge is raised 150ft above the high waters of The Firth of Forth and took seven years and 4,600 men to build. In 2001 a £130m, ten-year refurbishment project began. The old paint being stripped back to the metal, and any steelwork that required maintenance was repaired and cleaned.

The new paint was applied over the 230,000 sq metres at a cost of around £370 per sq metre, in three protective layers, by hand in some areas particularly difficult to access. It is expected to last for the next 20 to 25 years.

According to the New Civil Engineer, the idea of “Painting the Forth Bridge” being a never-ending task, has never been accurate.

Network Rail themselves consider it a myth and before the latest paint job, it used to take a maintenance team of 30-40 painters and scaffolders over three years to apply the Forth Bridge’s famous rust-red coating of paint.