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!