» Articles » Belfast students build world’s largest Meccano structure with record breaking bridge

Belfast students build world’s largest Meccano structure with record breaking bridge

Students and academics at Queen's University Belfast have built the world's largest Meccano structure with a 100-foot bridge spanning Belfast’s Clarendon dock. It not only propels them into the Guinness Book of World Records but is also inspiring local youngsters to consider a career in engineering.

Meccano world record

The Big Bridge Build, a year-long project, is the brainchild of the University’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering. Academics and students created the bridge, with the help of local school children, as part of the university’s outreach programme to encourage more children to think about careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Hundreds of people visited Belfast’s Clarendon Dock to marvel at the stunning construction as they waited to hear the official announcement of the World Record bid. The project was made possible with the help of Spin Master Corp, the proud owner and producer of Meccano, as well as McLaughlin and Harvey and Aecom, who gave valuable advice to the students as well as assisting with the construction and installation of the bridge across the Clarendon Dock.

The students celebrated their achievement by walking across the bridge for the first time, which was officially declared open by Meccano’s Meccanoid Robot, much to the delight of attending youngsters.

Growing skills shortage in civil engineering

Speaking about the achievement Danny McPolin, Senior Structures Lecturer at Queen’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, said: “This event has been a fantastic way to celebrate the student and staff’s incredible work over the past year, but also a chance to show local children more about the exciting courses we offer here at the Queen’s University.

With a growing skill shortage in Civil engineering, we hope that our work will encourage more children to consider the study of civil engineering and other STEM subjects at University level

Members of the public who attended the event had the opportunity to speak to students and academics, as well as the event sponsors, who were on hand to discuss the bridge build and civil engineering in general. Youngsters were also able to create their own Meccano structures in a dedicated Gazebo.

Civil engineering achievements

Inspiring the world’s future architects and engineers

Ben Varadi, Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Spin Master Corp., said: “We are truly in awe of this remarkable achievement. Spin Master is incredibly proud that this timeless and iconic toy, invented over a 100 years ago, continues to inspire the world’s future architects and engineers.”

John McCarey, Chief Engineer at Civil Engineering contractor McLaughlin and Harvey Ltd added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Queen’s to support these engineers of the future with this exciting project. We have been involved from the start of their world record attempt, providing them with a contractor’s insight and bringing our technical expertise to the very particular challenges of this brilliant third year design project. To gain the World Record is the Icing on the Cake!”

The Guinness World Record ‘Big Bridge Build’ in numbers

  • Length of Bridge - 28.5 (96ft).
  • Longest Span of Bridge – 14m.
  • Height of Bridge - 6m (26ft).
  • Weight – 600kg.
  • Pieces of Meccano – 11,000.
  • Nuts, bolts, washers – 60,000.
  • Total length of Meccano pieces (laid end to end) – 3,835m (The equivalent length of 341 Routemaster buses or the height of 10 Empire State Buildings!).

Company Profile

Process Industry Forum

The leading online technical resource centre for the Process Industry.

Get the latest process industry news

Interested in receiving even more industry-leading news from Process Industry Forum delivered directly to your inbox? Then sign up to our free newsletter. Bringing you the latest news, trends, innovations and opinion from across the process industry, our exclusive newsletter gives you all the industry insights of the moment in one, easy-to-digest bulletin. Stay ahead of the competition with regular process industry news instalments from PIF.