Bridge Too Far (that will be Tower Bridge)
| story filed by:|| onionbag blogger|
Winston Churchill once described the river Thames as:
'The silver stream from which the history of our city can be observed.'
Mind you, he was passing this information on to a young Queen Elizabeth at the time and she was probably more interested in what time tea could be taken at Claridges rather than listening to some balding old goat banging on about the retching river.
The tale of London can be told through its bridges, be they falling down, bombed or just plain wobbly.
Thirteen bridges, one sun drenched afternoon and only two Sainsburys cheapo Cheese and Onion Rolls to keep me going. It's enough to make you want to jump off one of them. That's bridges, not cheese and onion...
Building Bridges: The original timber construction was built in 1771, with the current iron cantilever bridge being completed in 1885.
Bridging the Gap: The old wooden bridge was unpopular with river traffic which kept on colliding with the narrow spans. Ship captains being pissed out of their head on Mother's Ruin probably didn't help either.
Used by: Dogs and local females. Not a mutually exclusive category.
(click on thumbs to see large image)
Building Bridges: The original 1873 incarnation featured ornate pagodas.
Bridging the Gap: The limitations of a suspension structure led to a five ton weight limit being imposed on the bridge back in 1884. That's why you never see Vanessa Feltz trying to cross it.
onionbagblog Brucie Bonus Point of Interest: The evening fairy lights and the famous 'ice cream' colours makes the Albert Bridge popular within film scenes; Sliding Doors, Love Actually and any other crap chick flick wanting to add an 'ahh, water, bridge, lovely lights' moment to spice up a shit film.
Used by: Film extras.
Building Bridges: 1851, and being Chelsea of course, it was opened as a toll bridge. The bridge was re-built in 1935 after safety concerns over the foundations.
Bridging the Gap: Extortionate prices, shaky foundations, pretty to look at but ultimately going nowhere - anyone recognise the Chelsea FC comparisons?
Used by: Sloanes, Sex Pistols and dead princesses.
Grosvenor Railway Bridge
Building Bridges: Built in 1859 as the first railway bridge to span the Thames. The idea was to link the Beautiful South to the West End.
Bridging the Gap: The current bridge was re-built between 1963-67 due to the demands of increased commuter traffic into Victoria Station.
Used by: Choo choos.
Building Bridges: Vauxhall Bridge was built in 1811 and was originally named Regent's Bridge as the plan was to link Greenwich with Hyde Park,
Bridging the Gap: Strong tidal pressure around this stretch of the Thames led to erosion, with a new bridge being built in 1906.
onionbagblog Brucie Bonus Point of Interest: As the magnificent Time Team demonstrated recently, the shores around Vauxhall Bridge are a significant area of archaeological interest - Roman coins, Medieval timber, 20th Century torsos - all can be found if you take your bucket and spade down to the riverbank on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
Used by: Spooks, Morrissey.
Building Bridges: Built on a site that was originally used to receive monarchs, Lambeth Bridge was constructed in 1860 to serve the growing population of the burgeoning Borough. The current bridge was completed in 1929.
Bridging the Gap: The Act of Parliament giving the green light for the Bridge was passed in 1809. Insufficient funds to complete the project led to the delay. Some things never change down at Lambeth Town Hall...
onionbagblog Brucie Bonus Point of Interest: The colour scheme of red was chosen to represent the red benches of the nearby House of Lords. Likewise the green of Westminster Bridge signifies the House of Commons. What does this tell us then about the pink of Albert Bridge?
Used by: People doing The Walk, plus Bishops seeking sinful behaviour north of the river.
Building Bridges: The capital's 'second' bridge after London Bridge, the first crossing built was built in 1750 and soon became known as the 'Bridge of Fools.' Crossing the bridge nowadays and dodging the tourists buying all sorts of tat and you can see why the name still sticks.
Bridging the Gap: With the first bridge being deemed structurally unsafe in 1854, work on a new structure commenced.
Used by: SHAME Shirley Porter, picture postcard hunting tourists.
Building Bridges: Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1841, the bridge became extremely popular (and profitable) from 1848 onwards when Waterloo Station first opened.
Bridging the Gap: £50m was spent in 2000 to upgrade the bridge and re-open to the public after years of service as a railway bridge only.
onionbagblog Brucie Bonus Point of Interest: Hungerford Bridge is named after a long lost market on the north bank, and not a crazed lone gunman.
Used by: Stop the War campaigners, a brown nosing Jeremy Clarkson. Shame the silly petrol head can't drive over it.
Building Bridges: Built between 1811-16 by John Rennie, the first of the three Thames bridges that he designed. Originally known as Strand Bridge.
Bridging the Gap: Closed in 1923 after it became unsafe, the first of the new foundations were laid in 1939. With most of the male population engaged in war, Waterloo Bridge was mainly built by female labour. That's probably why it's slightly wonky then.
onionbagblog Brucie Bonus Point of Interest: If you can't blag a cheeky snog on Waterloo Bridge as sun sets over the City on a Friday night, you're either pug ugly or Ann Widecombe. Or even both.
Used by: Ray Davies.
Cannon Street Bridge
Building Bridges: First opened in 1866, the original downstream path was reserved as a footpath for use by railway employees only.
Bridging the Gap: The bridge has since been re-built twice - just after the First World War and then in 1981 by dear old British Rail.
Used by: Yet more choo choos.
Building Bridges: The original construction was completed in 1760, becoming the third bridge to span the Thames. Etches of the first structure can be seen today under the archway linking Southbank to the Tate Modern. These are engraved on the walls, and not some tatty hand drawn colour by number efforts, as sold under the arch by some pikey.
Bridging the Gap: Queen Victoria officially opened the current bridge in 1869.
onionbagblog Brucie Bonus Point of Interest: Originally named Pitt Bridge in honour of the former Tory Prime Minister, the name was quickly changed after The Younger soon became public enemy number one. And you wonder why there's no Thatcher Bridge in London. Plenty would like to see the old witch hanging from one though.
Used by: Fuckspud journos on their way to work at Daily Express, pondering what totally obscure and meaningless front page they can come up with today.
Building Bridges: After winning a design competition in 1996, Fosters and Partners completed the building in 2000, only to see the 'Blade of Light' (yeah, right...) close days after opening because of wobbling defects.
Bridging the Gap: The highly scientific solution to stop the wobbles was to limit the number of people using it at any one time.
Used by: Funky 21st Century 'lifestyle' types who think nothing of forking out three quid for a lukewarm latte and then poncing across the metallic structure juggling their PDAs, iPods and uPricks whilst trying to read the crappy Consume section in Time Out at the same time. Plus people with a good sense of balance.
Building Bridges: Another John Rennie design, Southwark Bridge first opened to the public in 1819.
Bridging the Gap: The dismantling of the old structure took eight long years, finally being finished in 1921 after the interruption of war.
Used by: Archbishops.
Building Bridges: Excavations reveal that a bridge had stood at this site since AD 984, around the time of the Roman rule of London.
Bridging the Gap: A variety of timber and stone incarnations have been erected over the years. Revenue was raised by renting out shop space. John Rennie's design was built in 1831. This lasted 140 years until the narrow design led to Queen Elizabeth opening the current structure in 1967.
onionbagblog Brucie Bonus Point of Interest: London Bridge is Falling Down dates back to the Viking raids in the 11th Century when our Nordic friends firebombed the old wooden structure.
Used by: City boys, cabbies and confused tourists wondering when the bridge will next lift.
London Bridge is falling down. Just like my legs after 14.9 miles of South Bank cycling. Ya Boo Sucks and wave my willy in the air at Tower Bridge. Shame David Blaine isn't still hanging from there.