The Bridges

The Illuminated River project will incorporate 15 bridges from Albert Bridge to Tower Bridge, taking the Golden Jubilee footbridges and the Hungerford bridge together given their proximity to each other. In total these bridges are used by over 179 million people per year.

Albert Bridge

Albert Bridge

When Albert Bridge first opened the large number of people stepping on it caused it to sway, giving rise to the nickname ‘The Trembling Lady’. Though since rectified you can still see the signs on the bridge stating ‘All troops must break step when marching over this bridge.’ Plans to demolish Albert Bridge in the 1950s were prevented by a residents’ campaign led by John Betjeman, who described the bridge as “one of the beauties of the London river.”

Owner
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Completed
1873
Designer
Rowland Mason Ordish
Heritage status
Grade II*
Chelsea Bridge

Chelsea Bridge

Originally called Victoria Bridge, the first incarnation of Chelsea Bridge was designed to allow residents of the north side of the river easy access to Battersea Park (though they were charged a toll for the privilege). With ever-increasing traffic making the Victorian structure unsafe, it was replaced in the 1930s by the self-anchored suspension bridge seen today - the first of its type to be built in Britain.

Owner
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Completed
1937
Designer
G Topham Forrest and E P Wheeler
Heritage status
Grade II
Grosvenor Railway Bridge

Grosvenor Railway Bridge

The combination of three earlier bridges, Grosvenor Bridge stands on the site of the first railway bridge to bring trains across the Thames in central London, which opened in 1859. Serving the commuter hub of Victoria Station, today it is one of the busiest railway bridges in the world, with over 40 million journeys made across it every year.

Owner
Network Rail
Completed
1967
Designer
Freeman Fox & Partners
Vauxhall Bridge

Vauxhall Bridge

A bridge of firsts, Vauxhall is the site of London’s oldest bridge: a Bronze-Age wooden structure whose oak stumps are still visible at low tide. It was also the location for the first cast-iron bridge across the Thames and the first to carry trams across the river. The current bridge is richly decorated with statues by F.W. Pomeroy and Alfred Drury, depicting Agriculture, Architecture, Engineering and Pottery (upstream), and Education, Fine Arts, Science and Local Government (downstream).

Owner
Transport for London
Completed
1906
Designer
Sir Alexander Binnie
Heritage status
Grade II*
Lambeth Bridge

Lambeth Bridge

Built on the site of central London’s only horse ferry, the red accents in Lambeth Bridge’s paintwork are designed to reflect the colour scheme of the nearby House of Lords. The obelisks at either end are topped by pinecones, an ancient symbol of hospitality (though some think these are pineapples, a possible tribute to John Tradescant, who first cultivated them in England and is buried nearby). In 1965 Lambeth Bridge became the first bridge to have a pedestrian underpass built beneath it, over thirty years before the official opening of the Thames Path.

Owner
Transport for London
Completed
1932
Designer
Sir Reginald Blomfield and G Topham Forrest
Heritage status
Grade II
Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge has featured in numerous films (including Spectre and 28 Days Later) and has been depicted by artists such as Monet and Whistler. Its gothic detailing was designed by Charles Barry, architect of the Palace of Westminster, and the bridge's connection to Parliament can also be seen in its distinctive green paintwork, which matches the green leather benches in the House of Commons.

Owner
Transport for London
Completed
1862
Designer
Thomas Page
Heritage status
Grade II*
Golden Jubilee Footbridges and Hungerford Bridge

Golden Jubilee Footbridges and Hungerford Bridge

Replacing an earlier bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (the chains of which were recycled on Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge), Hungerford Bridge, with its unappealing pedestrian walkways, was considered by many as an eyesore. This changed in 2002 with the opening of the award-winning Golden Jubilee Footbridges, named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II and designed by the Illuminated River’s own project architects, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

Owner
Westminster City Council, Network Rail
Completed
1864 / 2002
Designer
Sir John Hawkshaw / Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge

London’s longest bridge is affectionately nicknamed the ‘Ladies Bridge’ owing to its construction by a female workforce during World War Two. Immortalized by The Kinks in the 1967 song ‘Waterloo Sunset,’ the wonderful views have made the current bridge a favourite for many. Its predecessor was also much admired: Claude Monet created 40 paintings of it from his balcony at the Savoy Hotel over the course of 1901.

Owner
Westminster City Council
Completed
1942 (officially opened 1945)
Designer
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
Heritage status
Grade II*
Blackfriars Bridge

Blackfriars Bridge

Said to be mark the tidal turning point in the Thames, Blackfriars Bridge is decorated with images of seabirds on the downstream side and freshwater birds on the upstream side. The bridge also marks the boundary of the historic City of London, with its southern landing guarded by a statue of a silver dragon. The red granite capitals are topped by distinctive pulpit-like structures which contain seating for pedestrians, and may be a reference to the old monastery that gave the bridge its name.

Owner
Bridge House Estates
Completed
1869
Designer
Joseph Cubitt
Heritage status
Grade II
Blackfriars Railway Bridge

Blackfriars Railway Bridge

Originally two bridges, opened in 1864 and 1886, only the piers of Blackfriars Railway Bridge’s earliest incarnation remain. Following extensive renovation the bridge reopened in 2014 as the world’s largest solar-powered bridge, whose 4,400 photovoltaic panels provide up to half the energy for Blackfriars station.

Owner
Network Rail
Completed
1864 / 1886
Designer
Sir John Wolfe Barry / Henry Marc Brunel
Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge

Envisioned as a “blade of light” across the Thames, and linking St Paul’s Cathedral with the Tate Modern and Globe Theatre on the South Bank, London’s first new pedestrian bridge for over a century is a popular destination in its own right. The St Paul’s end of the bridge is marked by two steel sculptures by Sir Anthony Caro, known as the HSBC Gates.

Owner
Bridge House Estates
Completed
2000
Designer
Arup Group, Foster + Partners and Sir Anthony Caro
Southwark Bridge

Southwark Bridge

The least-used bridge in central London, the green and gold-painted Southwark Bridge replaced the earlier Queen Street Bridge (immortalised by Charles Dickens as the ‘Iron Bridge’ that appears in Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend) which Londoners avoided in favour of nearby toll-free crossings. In August 1972 the usually quiet bridge was crowded with spectators, who flocked to see Franz Burbach complete the first successful tightrope walk across the Thames.

Owner
Bridge House Estates
Completed
1921
Designer
Sir Ernest George / Basil Mott
Heritage status
Grade II
Cannon Street Railway Bridge

Cannon Street Railway Bridge

Originally known as Alexandra Bridge, Cannon Street Railway Bridge has undergone several makeovers over its lifetime. Though much of its original ornamentation has been lost as the bridge has adapted to accommodate increasing traffic, the two brick towers from the original bridge remain visible on the north bank of the river. These now contain water tanks which are used to power the hydraulic lifts for Cannon Street train station.

Owner
Network Rail
Completed
1866
Designer
Sir John Hawkshaw
London Bridge

London Bridge

There has been a bridge on or near this site since medieval times, and the current bridge’s Victorian predecessor now sits across a lake in Arizona. The bridge is a commuter favourite, with heated pavements designed to prevent icing during cold spells. One Sunday every autumn the traffic is replaced by sheep for the annual Sheep Drive by Freemen of the City of London, a practice that dates back to the 12th century.

Owner
Bridge House Estates
Completed
1973
Designer
Lord Holford, Mott Hay & Anderson
Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

With its distinctive bascule (drawbridge) structure Tower Bridge is a key London landmark. Originally painted in Queen Victoria’s favourite colour – chocolate brown – the bridge was repainted in 1977 for the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Tower Bridge also houses its own exhibition space, in the high-level walkways which were originally designed to allow pedestrians to pass when the bridge was raised. The bridge opened 6,160 times in its first year of use, and today it still opens around 850 times a year.

Owner
Bridge House Estates
Completed
1894
Designer
Horace Jones and Sir John Wolfe-Barry
Heritage status
Grade I

Illuminated River Bridge Users

Figures per annum based on data collected by Transport for London, London River Services and Network Rail between 2010 and 2016.


Pedestrians
78,909,815

Rail users
76,863,774

Cyclists
13,465,696

Transport for London River Services
10,300,000
Total
179,539,285

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