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1883 Joseph Phillips and his partners, Sir Thomas Selby Tancred and Mr. Falkiner, associated themselves with Mr (later Sir) William Arrol, who had entered into a contract for the construction of the Forth Bridge. The contractors were generally known as Tancred, Arrol and Company.
Phillips made up an estimate for the cost of the structure, and was resident partner at South Queensferry for the contractors. Phillips was responsible for the general management of the whole contract.
Falkiner took personal charge of the difficult and costly works at Dalmeny and Inverkeithing, connecting the bridge with the main line.