A Troubled Bridge Over Waters

The studio we visited on Friday evening (Applaud … Now!) was in Hammersmith, an area of London we’d not visited before. We had a short time to walk along the edge of the River Thames before going into the studio and we discovered what an amazing area it was. Walk with me …

The Hammersmith Bridge across the Thames is an outstanding, imposing and quite formidable piece of engineering work. My friend who used to live in Hammersmith told me it had a fascinating history,  so I checked it out. Thanks Wikipedia!

The original Hammersmith Bridge was built in 1825, as the first suspension bridge over the Thames.  By the 1870s, the bridge was struggling under the weight of the traffic that passed over it, particularly the 11,000 or so who crowded on to the bridge to watch the University Boat Race in 1870. A temporary bridge was constructed, while a replacement bridge was built.

The replacement bridge, built on the original pier supports, was designed by well-known civil engineer, Sir Joseph Bazalgette (he also designed the Cathedral of Sewage in London’s east end – I’ll write about that in a future post) and it was opened in 1887.

Several times, the IRA have attempted to bomb it – once unsuccessfully in 1939 when an alert member of the public noticed a smoking, sparking suitcase on the bridge and went over to open it and throw the suitcase in the river. It exploded in the river, a few moments ahead of a second bomb that went off further down the bridge. In 2000, an IRA bomb exploded on it and put the bridge out of commission for two years.

Here are a few views of the bridge, which spans the River Thames between Hammersmith and Barnes (my husband took these amazing photographs):

Hammersmith Bridge in the late afternoon sun
Such a magnificent bridge

I had a quick stop to take a phone call:

Quick on the draw - I can answer the phone at ten paces
A view of the bridge as we walked north along the River

We walked further along the River and came across another boat suburb:

Fabulous house boats on the Thames

And some webbed residents:

These ducks don't often use the boat
I hope the big guy isn't a bully

We loved this walkway to a pub, called The Dove:

I love the low doorways in old buildings

We walked past amazing old houses along the edge of the river. I was fascinated to walk past a house with the sign “William Morris Society” outside it. My friend, Wendy, over at Herding Cats in Hammond River updated her blog theme last week, using a William Morris design as her background. I’d never heard of him (blush) so it was such a coincidence to discover Kelmscott House which was his residence from 1878 to 1896. This is the only photo we took of the house:

The William Morris Society house

We saw a hopeful glimpse of spring against the dusk sky:

Yay for the sight of cherry blossom!

Our walk came to an end and we headed back to the studio to become part of the TV audience. There are so many sights to see in London and each new one overwhelms me. I can’t imagine ever tiring of that feeling.

Sunshine signing off for today!


32 thoughts on “A Troubled Bridge Over Waters

  1. Beaut pictures, feels as though I am there! (Wish I was) When my German friend takes a picture, she always says she “makes a photo” I think that is so descriptive, and is so much more than just the act of taking the photo.
    Wish I could have “made a photo” of Roger Federer today! (see my email!)
    Glad to see the first signs of spring.
    Love and hugs xo

    1. Thanks so much, Sharon! Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could come over here?
      I hope you’ll be able to “make a photo” of Roger – how amazing would that be? I’m so envious …

  2. Your husband is quite the photographer! I love the shots of the bridge in the overcast light. Is this the bridge near Wapping?

    It’s so funny that you learned about William Morris from Wendy and then he just popped up again on your walk. I love when that happens. 🙂

    1. He is, indeed, jacquelin, and the light was just awesome. The bridge is in Hammersmith, which is the west end of London. I’m not sure I know of a bridge near Wapping.
      The William Morris story was such a ridiculous coincidence, because we would otherwise have just walked past the house and not paid any attention.

  3. Ooh, I want to see that bridge for myself! So many lovely sights and sounds in your part of the world, Sunshine — thanks for sharing them with us!

  4. The bridge and the views from are simply beautiful and the history is so interesting. I love the photo of you “drawing” your cell phone…LOL. Yay, for Cherry Blossoms and Spring…bring it on! Diane

  5. Lovely photos – thanks for the tour. I would love to see London myself, but I appreciate the chance to see it through your eyes!

  6. It sounds like a lovely day, Sunshine. I think it’s wonderful that you’re taking the time to explore and city and that you don’t think things for granted.

  7. So happy I was able to play a part in your creation of this blog! I learnt this history on a free London Walk of Hammersmith. There really seemed to be an incredible story around every corner I turned in London. And the cherry blossoms are coming, how exciting!

    1. Yes, thanks so much, Persia! You’re right about stories everywhere you go in London – amazing. The glimpse of spring brings so much hope and optimism, as I’m sure you remember! xx

  8. Fascinating Sunshine! Another wonderful journey through London and this time a totally new place for me 🙂 The bridge is truly grand! That’s such a co-incidence finding the William Morris Society like that! I must look him up.

    Cheers, H.

  9. Is it starting to warm up? You still look freezing! The pictures were beautiful. Must admit when you showed the house boats I felt a twinge of jealousy. I think that for a couple of weeks, that could be amazing? And it cant be too expensive- hey? Do you think the people who own the boats pay the government a tax to be there? Do you think there are holiday house boats on the Thames?

    1. It isn’t really warming up – spring is in the air, and the sky is sometimes blue, but it’s still cold! The houseboats are not cheap, I gather – we overlook a small dock with boats, most of which are inhabited. In the summer there seem to be loads more people around, so I am sure they do hire them out – would be fun!

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