Author Topic: London's temporary bridges  (Read 265 times)

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Offline PNK

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London's temporary bridges
« on: November 20, 2023, 22:25:08 pm »
Whilst perusing the thousands of aerial photos of London I noticed a couple of Thames bridges that didn't last long, both between Hungerford Bridge and Westminster Bridge. The first crossed the river by the eastern wall of County Hall and appears to be a temporary wartime bridge as it had two Bailey sections. It was being dismantled by 1948.

The second was a few yards west of Hungerford Bridge and was almost certainly built for the Festival of Britain as it was gone by 1954.

I was impressed that the fast flowing Thames was tamed for the support sections of these bridges but wonder how safe they actually were. I recall the old walkway on the east side of Hungerford Bridge and that was quite narrow with a few bulges as viewpoints. I wonder if this was deemed inadequate for the expected foot traffic.

Such a shame the old roof of Charing Cross Station has gone as it still sported the wartime toning down paint when it was removed. What the other temporary crossings? Didn't Waterloo Bridge have one and London Bridge?

Offline pomme homme

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Re: London's temporary bridges
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2023, 16:03:47 pm »
The second was a few yards west of Hungerford Bridge and was almost certainly built for the Festival of Britain as it was gone by 1954.

The link between these bridges and the counties of South-East England is a little tenuous, but as the bridges mentioned connected with the Surrey Shore of the Thames ..... !

Judging by the photograph here, it appears that you are correct about this bridge serving the Festival of Britain site.

Having regard to the fact that the Festival of Britain site gave way to the South Bank cultural complex, one might have thought that the bridge might have remained in situ to serve those. But maybe the fact that it was a bailey bridge meant that it could not be expected to have more than a short operational existence.

Offline pomme homme

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Re: London's temporary bridges
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2023, 12:23:20 pm »
The first crossed the river by the eastern wall of County Hall and appears to be a temporary wartime bridge as it had two Bailey sections. It was being dismantled by 1948.

Construction of this bridge was underway by 1942. There is a photograph of the bridge, as a 'work in progress', to be found here. It, along with another two bridges, were constructed as a wartime precaution (against existing bridges being damaged or destroyed by bombing) and when, in 1947-48, that precaution became otiose, all three bridges were dismantled.

Offline PNK

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Re: London's temporary bridges
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2023, 17:02:37 pm »
Many thanks for the info. I will now have to look the other wartime bridges. I was actually looking for the remains of the Surrey (?) canal that I recall from the mid seventies, but spent the evening following the route of my daily rail commute. The changes since I retired in 2015 are just as alarming.