The bridges of London
Did you know there are 35 bridges which cross over the River Thames? From Tower Bridge to Hampton Court Bridge, they all provide a unique perspective and view of the capital, and here for your enjoyment is a guide to them all!
(Illustrated by Lis Watkins)
1. Tower Bridge
Interesting fact: It was painted a chocolate brown colour, but in 1977 it was painted red, white and blue to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee!
2. London Bridge
Opened: Current bridge 1973
Interesting fact: There have been over four different bridges on this sight - Various wooden bridges (AD 50-1176), a Medieval stone arch (1176-1832), Victorian stone arch (1832-1968), the current modern bridge (1973 - present)
3. Cannon Street Railway Bridge
Interesting fact: The bridge was designed by John Hawkshaw and John Wolfe-Barry.
4. Southwark Bridge
Interesting fact: Early records call it Suthriganaweorc or Suthringa geweorche, meaning ‘the defensive works of the men of the south’ (i.e. Surrey)
5. Millennium Bridge
Interesting fact: The Bridge is featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where the bridge collapses following an attack by Death Eaters.
6. Blackfriars Railway Bridge
Opened: First bridge opened in 1886; Current bridge opened in 1985
Interesting fact: In 1985, the old bridge was declared too weak to support modern trains, and was removed, but the supports were left. The current Blackfriars railway bridge reopened with 4,400 roof-mounted solar panels on top of it in 2014.
7. Blackfriars Bridge
Interesting fact: It has Grade II listed status which was given to it in 1972.
8. Waterloo Bridge
Opened: First bridge opened in 1817, Second bridge opened in 1945
Interesting fact: Originally called the Strand bridge, it was renamed Waterloo Bridge as a lasting legacy of the victory achieved in the Battle of Waterloo and opened in 1817 on the second anniversary of the battle.
9. & 10. Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges
Opened: 1864 and 2002
Interesting fact: Hungerford Bridge opened as a result of the 1859 Charing Cross Railway Act which authorized the construction of a railway to cross the Thames. The Golden Jubilee bridge is named in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.
11. Westminster Bridge
Opened: First bridge opened in 1750; Second bridge opened 1862
Interesting fact: It was designed by the same architect as the Palace of Westminster, Charles Barry.
12. Lambeth Bridge
Opened: First bridge opened in 1862; Second bridge opened in 1932
Interesting fact: Lambeth Bridge is painted red to match the seats in the House of Lords, the part of the Palace of Westminster closest to the bridge.
13. Vauxhall Bridge
Interesting fact: Falkes de Breauté was a 13th century knight who built a hall in this part of south London. It became known as Falkes' Hall and eventually Vauxhall. His legacy continues in several other guises. The Vauxhall car company uses Falkes' griffin device for its own logo.
14. Grosvenor Bridge
Opened: 1860 (rebuit 1963-1967)
Interesting fact: It was central London's first railway bridge and is made up of 10 indivdual bridges making it the widest bridge on the river.
15. Chelsea Bridge
Interesting fact: Back in the 1970s, Chelsea Bridge was repainted in a striking red and white colour scheme. This prompted a flurry of complaints from fans of Chelsea FC, who felt their local landmark had been painted in the colours of their arch-rivals, Arsenal FC.
In 2007, the bridge was repainted with a less controversial, and more stately, white with a red trim —- with an all-important greyish blue along the balustrades.
16. Albert Bridge
Interesting fact: Two concrete piers were added to it to further strengthen it in 1973, which means today the bridge is an odd hybrid of three different design styles! For six years after it was opened it became a toll bridge, though this was unsuccessful and the charge was lifted.
17. Battersea Bridge
Interesting fact: The word Battersea is an Anglo-Saxon name, originally recorded as Badrices īeg, meaning the island of Badric.
18. Battersea Railway Bridge
Interesting fact: The bridge was declared a Grade II listed structure in 2008 and trains are subject to a 20/30mph speed limit when crossing it.
19. Wandsworth Bridge
Interesting fact: It's one of the busiest bridges in London with 50,000 vehicles going over it a day.
20. Fulham Railway Bridge
Interesting fact: Fulham was an area belonging to an Anglo-Saxon called Fulla, but rather than the usual ‘ham’ meaning homestead, this one was originally ‘hamm’, signifying a bend in the river.
21. Putney Bridge
Interesting fact: Putney Bridge is the only bridge in Britain to have a church on either side of it, with the North Bank having All Saints' Church, whilst the South Bank is the site of St Mary's Church.
22. Hammersmith Bridge
Opened: First bridge opened in 1827; The current bridge opened in 1887.
Interesting fact: It was the first suspension bridge over the River Thames.
23. Barnes Railway Bridge
Interesting fact: It's one of the main reference points for the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race as whoever is leading at the bridge normally goes on to win the race.
24. Chiswick Bridge
Interesting fact: Chiswick is Old English for 'cheese farm'! Out of London's 20 Thames road bridges, it's the 8th busiest, with over 45,000 vehicles going over it a day.
25. Kew Railway Bridge
Interesting fact: In The Dalek Invasion of Earth, an episode of the BBC's Doctor Who, the TARDIS materializes under the Kew Railway Bridge, where it is subsequently trapped when the bridge collapses.
26. Kew Bridge
Interesting fact: The bridge has formed the work of many well-known artists, including Paul Sandby, James Webb, Henry Muhrman, Myles Birket Foster, Lewis Pinhorn Wood and James Isaiah Lewis.
27. Richmond Lock and Footbridge
Interesting fact: From the opening of the bridge right through to during WWII, a toll of one penny was charged to a pedestrian to cross it.
28. Twickenham Bridge
Interesting fact: In 1992 the UK's first Gatso speed camera was launched on the bridge.
29. Richmond Railway Bridge
Opened: 1848, rebuilt 1908
Interesting fact: It was awarded Grade II listing in 2008.
30. Richmond Bridge
Interesting fact: It's the oldest surviving Thames bridge.
31. & 32. Teddington Lock Footbridges
Opened: 1887 and 1889
Interesting fact: The two footbridges were funded through donations from local residents and businesses, with wooden ramps being added to it in recent years to make it more accessible for cyclists, pushchairs and disabled people.
33. Kingston Railway Bridge
Interesting fact: The bridge has five arches, three of which span the Thames with the other two on dry land.
34. Kingston Bridge
Interesting fact: It's 382 feet long and was designed by Edward Lapidge.
35. Hampton Court Bridge
Opened: First bridge opened in 1750; Second bridge opened in 1840; Third bridge opened in 1865; Current bridge opened in 1933
Interesting fact: It's the only bridge which crosses over into another county (Surrey).