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"Hungerford Bridge" Architectural Tip by irisbe

Architectural, London: 133 reviews and 258 photos

  Hungerford Bridge
by irisbe

Favorite thing: Some say it took 50 years; others will joke and claim it took 140 years: the construction of the Hungerford Bridge. Maybe a little chronology of events of its history might explain the difference in opinions!

The new Hungerford Bridge, designed by Alex Lifschutz, was part of the Millennium Project but it originate its inspiration and foundations in the original 19th century pedestrian suspension toll bridge, designed by Brunel, built in 1845.

At the time of the Brunel Bridge, it was amongst the longest in the world, incorporating landing piers for boats even.
People were quite impressed by it structure and many paintings and later on photographs have been made of it.
However… the beautiful design could not persuade the people from bearing the terrible stench coming from the heavily polluted Thames. Especially during Summers it seemed to be so bad people totally avoided it.

In 1860 the railway introduced itself and Charing Cross was operating. Brunel’s nice design got replaced by an ugly railroad bridge designed by John Hawkshaw, using the redbrick stone piers of the original bridge that you can still see today (see picture).
The river Thames got narrowed when building the Victoria Embankment.
The river became less stinky.

The idea of a footbridge remained. There was actually one near the rail track but it was narrow and no one dares to go there at night, it was a place to avoid!

Two pedestrian bridges will disguise the ugly railroad bridge: first to be opened was the Upstream bridge, facing London Eye and the Palace of Westminster, second is the downstream bridge at the other side.
The lightning at the bridge (designed 1997-1999) has to goals.
First aim was to provide a safety feeling when it gets dark and second it has to accentuate the design of the bridge, creating a new landmark during the night scenery.

Fondest memory: I missed viewing this bridge during night time so another reason to come back to London. If it is already so nice at day, it must be fairy tale-like at night!

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 5, 2004
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