From the Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513 to 1885.

Sir Thomas Bouch, Civil Engineer - 31st May 1878

 

THOMAS BOUCH, ESQUIRE, CIVIL ENGINEER, EDINBURGH, ENGINEER OF THE TAY BRIDGE, WAS MADE A BURGESS IN RESPECT OF HIS MERITORIOUS SERVICES AS ENGINEER OF THE BRIDGE, AND IN TESTIMONY OF THE COUNCIL'S HIGH APPRECIATION OF THE ENGINEERING TALENT AND ABILITY BY WHICH HE HAS DESIGNED THE BRIDGE, AND BY WHOSE DIRECTION THAT GREAT WORK WAS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED.

THOMAS BOUCH, the designer of the first railway viaduct between Fifeshire and Forfarshire, was born at Thursby, Cumberland, on 22nd February, 1822. He studied his profession as civil engineer at Carlisle, and was appointed, whilst quite a young man, as manager of the Edinburgh and Northern Railway, which is now absorbed in the system of the North British Railway Company. In this capacity he designed the loading slips in connection with the floating railway by which loaded waggons are conveyed from Burntisland to Granton.

The Kinross shire and Leven lines of railway were surveyed and constructed by him in 1854, the Peebles branch in 1855, and the Crieff Junction line in 1856. Several of the important branch lines in the North of England were also laid out and completed by him; whilst in this neighbourhood the most recent lines constructed by him were the Newport (Fife) Branch, and the North British line between Arbroath and Montrose via Lunan Bay. His greatest undertaking was the Tay railway viaduct between Dundee and Wormit, Fife, which was begun on 22nd July, 1871, and opened for traffic on 31st May, 1878.

The importance of this great work to Dundee, as affording direct communication with the South, was fully appreciated by the Town Council, and they gave expression to this feeling when they inscribed Mr BOUCH's name on the Burgess Roll. HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA passed along the Bridge on 20th June, 1879, when on her way North, and at that time she conferred the honour of Knighthood upon SIR THOMAS BOUCH, as an acknowledgment of his ability as an engineer.

During the fearful storm of Sunday, 29th December, 1879, the central girders of the Bridge were destroyed, and a passing train with its living freight was engulfed in the waters of the Tay. This melancholy catastrophe preyed upon the mind of SIR THOMAS BOUCH, and he never recovered from the shock which it occasioned to him. He died on 30th October, 1880, being then in the fifty eighth year of his age.