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make lightheartedly merry over what remain the village's trump cards. it‘s not perhaps surprising that the ‘ferriers go to it with enthusiasm and determination. Last year. the 25th anniversary of the Road Bridge offered a testing ground and a taste of organisational disaster. The lesson proved salutory. [Enjoying the confidence of experience. this year's junkets were arranged in a commendany unfettered spirit. and publicised with unrelenting vigour. For all its artistic shortcomings. The Ferry Play was a highly ambitious and efficiently organised theatrical tribute to Queensferry‘s history. and the year‘s final celebrations. which take place on Saturday 7. promise even greater extravagance. That the entire area will be closed to traffic has led to a bizarre preponderance of publicity about car parking arrangements (cars won't get within six miles of the party unless they have pre-paid passes). but the event itself is worthy
Let‘s not be too cynical. The road and rail bridges are not the only factor behind ()ueensferry‘s changed atmosphere. The closure of VAT 69's distillery in the mid-80s. with many job losses. left a scent of depression hanging in place of the whiff of barley: while the immigrants are no longer passengers but prosperous white settlers. in retreat from the urban bustle of Edinburgh. or the glare of fame. Among those seeking solace under the bridges' imposing shadows are Simple Mind Jim Kerr. snooker ace Stephen llendry. seasoned author Douglas Sutherland. playwright Hector MacMillan and Regular Music promoter Pete Irvine. And despite an ugly incident earlier this year involving a publicity-seeking American groupie. they are by and large left in peace. But like l.eith. ()ueensferry's territory may appear uneasily balanced between locals l and newcomers. .
So when the opportunity arises to l
Q: What's a mile long. comes in three red sections. is endlessly redecorated by a team of twenty-nine Sisyphean painters. has inspired a novel by Iain Banks and a play by Hector .‘vlacMillan. is widely regarded as a triumph of both engineering and aesthetics. and is ' (wait for it) a hundred years old this i year‘.’ A: Where have you been for the past six months‘.’ (iiven that the Forth Rail Bridge (did you guess right?) barely even passes through South Queensferry. and was moreover the first in a series ofdevelopments which robbed the village of the function for which it was named. the dougth ‘ferriers have shown remarkable alacrity in the matter ofcelebrating the centenary. Yet again. it is the reliable heritage industry that has bolstered the village's prosperity and vitality. and the centenary of a famous landmark spells heritage bonanza. l
As the Forth Rail Bridge girds its girders for a final. all-out 100th birthday bash. Andrew Burnet considers South Queensferry's transition from thriving community to bridge heritage centre. and previews the party.
The List 28 September— ll ()ctober IWUBS