On Monday, No. 4 submerged girder of the Tay Bridge was brought ashore. In
this girder the guard’s van and second class carriage were encased, and to it
much importance was attached. The iron work now discovered shows unmistakable
evidence that the rear part of the train had been blown off the metals and
grazed along the lattice work before the bridge fell. This bears out Sir Thomas
BOUCH’s theory that the bridge was brought down by the train being blown off
The Board of Trade inquiry into the disaster was reopened in London on
Monday. The first witness examined was Henry Able NOBLE, whose duty it was to
inspect the foundations of the bridge, and the scouring of the river. He spoke of
having observed clattering in the piers of the bridge, and finding a number
of “cotters” to be lose and badly fitted. He found cracks in some of the
piers, including one of considerable size in a pier under the high girders, and
took means to remedy the fault. Farther measures were ordered by Sir T. BOUCH,
but had not been carried out when the accident occurred.
Mr. HADLAND, formerly in the employment of the Cleveland Bolt and Nut
Company, was examined as to the quality of the iron supplied by that firm to
Messrs. GILKES & Co., the contactors of the bridge. The iron ordered was, he said,
of ordinary quality, and much of what was obtained from Messrs. JACQUES & Co.
for the purpose of manufacture was of an inferior kind. He could not say
that any of this inferior iron was returned to Messrs. JACQUES, and he asserted
that the manager of the Cleveland Bolt and Nut Company was bribed not to
return any of the iron received from that firm.
On Tuesday the first witnesses were men employed at the Cleveland Bolt and
Nut Company’s works at Birmingham in 1871, who were engaged in the manufacture
of the bolts and nuts for Messrs. HOPKINS, GILKES and Co., the contractors
for the bridge. Their testimony was unanimous that the articles in question
were made by machine, of inferior iron, and that no one from the contractors
ever came to inspect them.
Mr. H. LAW, C. E., the Board of Trade, gave a technical detail of many
serious defects he found in the structure.