Hammersmith Bridge London

Hammersmith Bridge London provides not only provides vital link from Hammersmith to Barnes, the West London bridge has historical significant and features vintage architecture. The current gravity-anchored chain suspension bridge is not the first at that location. Construction on the first suspension bridge began in 1825. Designed by William Tierney Clark, the completed bridge had only a slight curve upward with the total height of only 16 feet above the high water level. It had a 10 foot wide carriage path and two five foot wide pedestrian paths for a total width of 20 feet. The Tuscan-style stone suspension towers soared 48 feet above the road. The owners operated the toll bridge until the 1870s, when it became evident that it could no longer support heavy freight. A temporary bridge was erected in 1884 until a new larger bridge could be completed.
Hammersmith Bridge London, England
In 1885 Dixon, Appleby, & Thorne began building the new bridge, which was designed by famed civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette. Upon completion in 1887, amidst royal pomp and circumstance, the new structure was christened by Prince of Wales. The new bridge’ supporting structure was made from wrought iron set upon the existing supports from the original bridge. The length of the bridge is 700 feet with a width of 43 feet. The IRA attempted to destroy the structure several times. A Good Samaritan discovered a bomb on March 29, 1939 on his way home from work and quickly threw it in the river avoiding damage to that side of the bridge. However, a second bomb detonated on the west side causing that side of the bridge to collapse.

Following completion of the new bridge, it has suffered many traffic closures due to serious structural damage from the weight of modern vehicles. In 1973, much of the original wrought iron was replaced with steel trusses. The original wood planks were upgraded to coated plywood panels. Despite the 1973 improvements, the bearings on the Barnes-side tower failed in 1984. The bearings and plywood panels were subsequently replaced. Another major overhaul to reinforce the structure forced the bridge to close in 1997 however it reopened in 1998. The second attempt to destroy the bridge came on June 1, 2000 at 4:30 AM. The IRA detonated a bomb underneath the Barnes span. During repairs from the bomb blast, the bridge was re-painted to match the original 1887 color patterns. Currently the bridge is protected as a Grade II structure.


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