London Blog

London bridges

London Bridge is most certainly not falling down. In fact, the bridges that line the capital are not only structurally sound (that’s a minimum requirement, of course), but they are majestically lighting up London’s skyline – especially at night.

If you’re living in London, it won’t take long before you notice one of these large bridges perching just above the River Thames.  Considering they play such a prominent role in the capital, we thought we should tell you all you need to know about the spectacular bridges of London.

Tower Bridge

Perhaps the most famous bridge in London, Tower Bridge is a bascule and suspension bridge and was built between 1886 and 1894. Originally constructed to enable tall-masted ships access to the port of London, today it is the only bridge in the capital that opens up to let ships through. It also happens to be a popular backdrop for an iconic selfie, or two.

London Bridge

Until Medieval times, the only way to get across the Thames from the north bank of London to the southern suburb of Southwark was by ferry or a wooden bridge. Fortunately, by 1176 King Henry II realised wooden bridges probably weren’t the safest option when crossing a river and opted to construct a permanent stone crossing. That stone crossing turned out to be London Bridge, and lasted over 600 years until 1871 when it was demolished and made way for a new London Bridge.

Waterloo Bridge

Named after the Battle of Waterloo, where the British, Dutch and Prussians thought their way to victory, Waterloo Bridge affords impressive views of Westminster, the South Bank, the London Eye, the City of London and Canary Wharf. It is also the only bridge damaged in World War II. The other bridges were obviously quite lucky; this one not so much.

Millennium Bridge

The Millennium Bridge is one of London’s newer bridges and opened as recently as the year 2000. Used only for pedestrians it is located between Southwark Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge. While the bridge has been standing strong for most of its life, it didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts. A charity walk was organised to open the bridge officially, but there were problems when footers complained of wobbling motions. The bridge was then closed for two years to sort out the issues. Still, it’s fine now.

Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge is an arch bridge totalling 820 feet in length and 85 feet in width. The bridge is central London’s oldest surviving road bridge, although between 2005-2007 it underwent complete refurbishment to bring it up to scratch with modern structures.  It was also used for an iconic scene in the 2002 cult horror film 28 Days Later.

Blackfriars Bridge

Originally named as William Pitt Bridge after the former Prime Minister, it was changed to Blackfriars Bridge, because, well, it was in Blackfriars. The bridge enjoys its place in pop culture, featuring in the 2009 film, , The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, where Heath Ledger’s character was found hanging under the bridge –  a homage to Roberto Calvi, who was found hanging on the bridge in 1982 after a Mafia whack job.

Lambeth Bridge

Ever wondered why Lambeth Bridge is painted red? It’s because it’s the same colour as the seats in the House of Lords, which are located on the opposite side of the Houses of Parliament. This is in contrast to Westminster Bridge, which is painted green to reflect its position at the northern end of the House of Commons, where the benches are also painted green.

Albert Bridge

One of London’s most beautiful bridges, Albert Bridge connects Chelsea to Battersea and is a Grade II listed building. Originally built as a toll bridge, it was commercially unsuccessful and was taken into public ownership just six years after its construction. At night it’s lit up by 4,000 light bulbs and looks quite spectacular.

October 27, 2016 rentonomy London Living