Hammersmith Bridge, near Barnes, London
Hammersmith Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames in west London, connecting Hammersmith on the north side of the river and Barnes on the south. The current bridge is the second permanent structure over the river at this point, with the original bridge being built from 1824 and opened in 1827, being the first suspension bridge over the River Thames. By the 1870s, the bridge was no longer strong enough to support the weight of heavy traffic and in 1884 a temporary bridge was put up to allow continued cross-river traffic while a replacement was constructed. The new bridge was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette and rests on the same pier foundations constructed for the original structure. It was opened by the Prince of Wales on 11 June 1887.
There have been several terrorist attacks on the bridge, the latest being a bomb in 2000 that led to it being damaged and closed for 2 years for repairs. It was re-opened with weight restrictions but continuing structural problems resulted in it being closed indefinitely to all motor traffic in April 2019 after cracks were discovered in the bridge’s pedestals. Pedestrians and cyclists may still continue to use the bridge.
The bridge was declared a Grade II listed structure in 2008, providing protection to preserve its special character from unsympathetic development. The responsibility for the cost of repairing the bridge has been hotly disputed and it remains closed to motor traffic.
Is Hammersmith Bridge re-opening?
Following a detailed investigation by a team of world-leading specialist engineers in 2019, Transport for London (TfL) and Hammersmith & Fulham Council have agreed the works needed to repair Hammersmith Bridge. The first stage of the work has now begun and TfL has provided £25million to pay for it. TfL and H&F Council are continuing to explore the most appropriate funding for the next phase of construction, ahead of the planned award of a contract for the next stage of the works in spring 2020. The work is expected to take approximately three years and then the bridge should finally re-open.
It is about a 30-minute walk from Physio on the River to Hammersmith bridge if you wanted to take a closer look. Or there is a nicer but slightly longer route following the edge of the river all the way.
Learn more about the famous rowing race that goes under the bridge each year – The Boat Race