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Hampton Court Bridge (part two)By the 1860s the bridge was owned by Thomas Newland Allen and, to gain public support for his scheme to replace it, he promised to reduce the tolls. During demolition of the old bridge and construction of the new one, a replacement ferry service was provided. The new bridge was designed by a Mr. Murray and consisted of five spans made of wrought-iron lattice girders, supported by four pairs of cast-iron columns. To each of the piers was attached Mr. Allen's cast-iron coat of arms, and one of these can still be seen on a wall on the Surrey side of the bridge.
Hampton Court Bridge (part one)Hampton Court Bridge qualifies as the furthest upstream Thames bridge in Greater London because its northern half is in the London Borough of Richmond-on-Thames, the boundary with Surrey running across the centre of it. The current bridge is the fourth one on the site.
Introduction (part five)As for the future, it is unlikely that there will be any more new bridges in central London, but the planning authorities are considering proposals for two new crossings east of Tower Bridge, including one which would form part of the Thames Gateway development, and a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists which can be lifted to allow ships to pass through.
Introduction (part four)There was much criticism of the new railway bridges because, whereas most road bridges were elegant structures designed to enhance the cityscape, the new railway bridges were more functional and cheaply built to save the railway companies money. They were often plain lattice-girder structures, of a type that was soon to be built, mostly by British engineers, all over the world.
Introduction (part three)The opposition won the day this time, but one of the arguments had a certain irony. Mr. Boscawen alleged that, if the members approved a bridge at Putney, someone else would suggest building a bridge at Westminster, Hammersmith and many other sites, and that could not be allowed. Unsurprisingly, all the sites he listed now have their own bridge. It took several more attempts to get approval from Parliament for the bridge, which was not built until 1729.
Introduction (part two)With a very few exceptions, London's bridges were speculative ventures, privately financed by subscribers hoping to make a profit from the tolls charged, so that they were built for commercial gain rather than for strategic reasons. It was not until the late nineteenth century that they became the responsibility of a public body and the needs of the community became more important. As a result, more often than not, it was the availability of money that decided the type of bridge built rather than the needs of the local community, and many bridges, such as the old wooden Battersea Bridge, survived long past their usefulness, albeit in a dangerous state.
Introduction (part one)In 1938 an article in The Times observed that 'The people of London have a reputation for taking no interest in their bridges'. It is probably still true that most Londoners take them very much for granted and show little interest in the history of the bridges they cross every day on the way to work, about the politics involved in getting permission to build them, and the technical difficulties of erecting them. Although many visitors stop on the central bridges to enjoy the stunning views of London that they offer, probably very few think about the story behind the structure they are standing on.