We asked you five questions about London’s bridges. Here come the answers!
- In 1909 The Times described it as follows: “It looks like a monstrous Gothic toy that ought to be one of the side-shows of an exhibition.” Which London bridge were they referring to?
Tower Bridge. Completed in 1894, this bridge is now such an iconic symbol of London that it seems hard to imagine anyone could ever have dismissed it in such contemptuous terms. But it was. The artist Frank Brangwyn opined that “A more absurd structure than the Tower Bridge was never thrown across a strategic river”.
- Which London bridge was nicknamed “the Ladies Bridge” and why?
The second Waterloo Bridge. The original bridge was built between 1812 and 1817 but was suffering severe erosion by the 1920s. London County Council decided to demolish and replace it, but much of the work was carried out during the Second World War, reputedly by a largely female workforce.
- Charles Dickens considered which bridge as being “on the whole, the ugliest ever built”?
The original Lambeth Bridge, a suspension bridge. Dickens added that “[i]t was also, when it was built, supposed to be the cheapest.” It was opened in 1862, but doubts about its safety and the steepness of its approaches made it of little use to anyone but pedestrians. By 1879 it was severely corroded and in 1910 it was closed to vehicles. The current bridge replaced it in 1932.
- Which bridge became the first Thames bridge to be lit when oil lamps were installed in 1799?
Battersea Bridge. The original wooden toll bridge first opened in 1771, but its location on a busy bend in the Thames made it a hazard to boats, which frequently collided with it. The lamps were added as a safety measure for customers.
- Edward, Prince of Wales opened three London bridges within an hour on 3 July 1933. Twickenham Bridge at 5.00pm and Hampton Court Bridge at 5.30pm were the later two; at 4.30pm, which was the first?
Chiswick Bridge. The three were all part of the Great Chertsey Road scheme, first proposed in 1909 as a means of relieving traffic congestion between Hammersmith (then on London’s western outskirts) and Chertsey. The scheme was revived and taken to completion in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Great Chertsey Road is now the A316.
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