Hammersmith Bridge,London,2011

Google Maps: Hammersmith Bridge, Richmond, United Kingdom

Last weeks trip to see my Mother and Sister in London, my sister lives on a houseboat about 100 metres from the bridge.

The elegant, green-painted Hammersmith Bridge is an important landmark in the University Boat Race.  Today, however the bridge is closed to pedestrians during the race.

In 1824 an Act of Parliament authorised the building of Hammersmith Bridge and the foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Sussex the following year.

Designed by William Tierney Clarke, this was the first suspension bridge to span the Thames.  Tierney Clark, a resident of Hammersmith, is buried in the parish church and his memorial stone bears the outline of the original Hammersmith Bridge.

Opened in 1827, the stone bridge had two brick piers, above which stood two towers with arched entrances in Tuscan style.  Eight chains were strung from these towers to hold the bridge in place.  The timber deck gave a carriageway of 20 ft and two 5 ft pavements, all narrowing to pass under the arches.  Octagonal toll houses were built at either end to control traffic flow on the bridge.

By the 1870s Hammersmith Bridge was not strong enough to support the weight of the heavy traffic and the owners were alarmed in 1870 when 11,000 – 12,000 people crowded onto the bridge to watch the University Boat Race.  In 1884 a temporary bridge was put across the river and and work started on a new bridge.

Designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the elaborate new suspension bridge was opened in 1887. The wrought-iron framework on the towers and cross-beams was clad in ornamental cast-iron casings to give the appearance of arches.  The bridge is 700 ft long and 43 ft wide and carries a 27 ft-wide carriageway.

Bazalgette’s bridge is still in use today but in recent years it has been strengthened. In June 2000 Hammersmith Bridge was the target of a terrorist bomb attack, and after repairs the bridge was re-opened subject to a 7.5 tonne weight limit and with a priority measure in place for buses.

At night Hammersmith Bridge looks stunning, the result of a new lighting scheme which was installed in 1999/2000.

Lense used: Canon 18-200mm Zoom

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