THE engineer who built three of the most famous bridges in the world is to be honoured in Glasgow.

Sir William Arrol, who died 100 years ago, was responsible for the Forth Rail Bridge, Tay Bridge and London's Tower Bridge.

But he also built countless other bridges, including Great Western Bridge over the River Kelvin, which is crossed by thousands of motorists and pedestrians every day.

To honour his achievement, city planners have agreed a plaque should be placed on the bridge near the entrance to Kelvinbridge Subway station.

Great Western Bridge, built in 1890, is category A listed and lies in the Glasgow West conservation area.

The Institution of Civil Engineers suggested a cast iron plaque should be fixed to the structure to mark the 100th anniversary of the engineer's death.

It will feature the words "Sir William Arrol 1839-1913, bridge builder and railway contractor" and will include a summary of some of his most famous works.

Arrol, the son of a spinner, was born in Houston, Renfrewshire and started work in a cotton mill when he was only nine.

At 13, he started training as a blacksmith and went on to learn mechanics and hydraulics at night school.

In 1863, he joined a company of bridge manufacturers in Glasgow and by 1872 had set up his own company, the Dalmarnock Iron Works.

A few years later, he established Sir William Arrol and Co, which went on to become a leading international civil design business.

One of his first contracts was in 1878 for the Caledonian Railway bridge over the Clyde at the Broomielaw.

Four years later, Arrol was awarded the contract to rebuild the Tay Bridge which had collapsed in 1879 with the deaths of around 60 people.

His company went on to construct the Forth Bridge - which was completed in 1890 with the help of 7.5million rivets.

At the time, they were the largest of their kind in the world.

Arrol also built London Bridge, which was finished in 1894, and the Nile Bridge in Egypt.

His company was also contracted to Harland and Wolff Shipyard of Belfast to construct a large gantry for the construction of three new super liners - one of which was the Titanic.

He also built the 150ft high Titan Crane which was used to lift heavy equipment during the fitting-out of battleships and ocean liners at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank.

ARROL, who was knighted in 1890, was elected as the Liberal Unionist MP for South Ayrshire at the 1895 General Election and served until 1906.

Professor Roland Paxton, who lectures on the history of civil engineering at Edinburgh's Heriot Watt University, is an expert on Sir William Arrol.

He said: "At the end of the 19th century he was the most important engineer in the world for producing large steel structures.

"He did world class jobs, including the Tay Bridge, which was the longest railway bridge in the world when it was completed, and the Forth Bridge, which had the longest span in the world. These two bridges were absolutely major in world terms.

"Because of his efforts on the Forth Bridge he went on to do Tower Bridge and all the bridges on the Manchester Ship Canal as well as hundreds more.

"Arrol did not have any professional qualifications, but what he did have was an inate ability."