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Different Bridges Spanning Across River Thames in London

The River Thames runs through London and the oldest bridge that spanned the river was the London Bridge that was originally made from wood. It was replaced by a stone bridge in 1209 that also had many shops and houses along its sides. A granite bridge replaced this stone bridge in 1831 and the present concrete bridge was built in 1973. There are 24 bridges that span the river from Kew Bridge to Tower Bridge. Although most of them are road bridges, there are some railway bridges and a footbridge as well. Some of the most important bridges are being enumerated below.

London Bridge

London Bridge has for many centuries been the only bridge across the Thames in the city.  The first stone bridge was begun in 1176, replacing a wooden one that had been there since Roman times. It was finally completed in 1209, and it had houses built on it and the heads of traitors were for many years, impaled on the turrets of the gate at its southern end. The bridge was adorned with sumptuous buildings and stately and beautiful houses on either side. The houses were finally removed in the 1750s. Among those whose heads have adorned the bridge have been the Scottish hero William Wallace, the medieval rebel Jack Cade and Henry VIII’s minister Thomas Cromwell. A new bridge was opened in 1831 but this was sold to an American buyer who, it seems thought that he was buying the more distinctive Tower Bridge and erected it in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It was replaced by the present bridge in late 1973.

Putney Bridge

Spanning the River Thames between London Bridge and Kingston, the Putney Bridge was built of timber in 1729. It has a toll house at either end. There is also a bell warning of approaching highwaymen. The wooden bridge was severely damaged in 1870 when a river barge struck it. The present bridge was opened in 1886 and since then it has been the starting point for the University Boat Race.

Westminster Bridge

A bridge across the Thames at Westminster was opened in 1862 replacing an earlier bridge which dated from 1750. It is a road and foot bridge connecting Westminster and Lambeth.

Blackfriars Bridge

There is a railway bridge crossing the River Thames between Blackfriars Bridge and the Millennium Bridge. A road bridge was ready for pedestrians in 1766, for horses two years later and wheeled traffic finally crossed it in November 1769. It was originally a toll bridge. The present bridge dates from 1869.

Battersea Bridge

Battersea Bridge replaced a ferry that ran from Chelsea to Battersea. It was rebuilt as an iron bridge in the late 1880s. The climactic sequence of Guy Ritchie’s movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was filmed on Battersea Bridge.

Vauxhall Bridge

Originally called Regent’s Bridge, the Vauxhall Bridge was the first iron bridge over the Thames in London. The present bridge dates from the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign. In 1966 the opening sequence of Alfie was filmed on Vauxhall Bridge.

Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge was opened on the second anniversary of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo. Waterloo Bridge is the title of a twice- made film melodrama in which the betrayed heroine ends her life by throwing herself off the bridge. It was on Waterloo Bridge that the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was stabbed by a poisoned umbrella in 1978. He died later in hospital.

Hammersmith Bridge

It was the first suspension bridge in London when it was originally built but it was replaced by the present structure in the 1880s. It was closed for four years as a result of an IRA bomb in 1996 and it was targeted again in 2000 almost immediately after it had re­opened.

Chelsea Bridge

The present Chelsea Bridge was built in the 1930s and in the 1960s the Chelsea Bridge tea stall became a well-known gathering place for Rockers.

In order for tourists to be able to explore most of these bridges, it would be ideal for them to stay in cheap hotels in Paddington London so that they can easily reach them. The various cheap hotels in this area include Ascot Hyde Park Hotel, SO Paddington Hotel., Metro Hotel, Royal Norfork Hotel, Rose Park Hotel, Paddington Apartments, Atlas Hostels, Hotel Sophia, Linden House Hotel, Nayland Hotel, Avon Hotel, Piccolino Hotel, Belvedere Hotel, bayswater hotel london ,Shakespeare Hotel and many more.

Albert Bridge

Albert Bridge was originally built near several barracks due to which it has a still-existing sign which states that, ‘All troops must break step when marching over this bridge’ indicating that the authorities were concerned that too many soldiers stamping their way across it in unison would threaten its suspension.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is one of the most familiar tourist sights of the city and it has stood over the River Thames in London since 1894. It is the only Thames Bridge which can be raised. Its middle section can be raised to permit large vessels to pass the Tower Bridge. Massive engines raise the bridge sections, which weigh about 1000 tons each, in just over a minute. It used to be raised about 50 times a day, but nowadays it is only raised 4 to 5 times a week. Tower Bridge is 60 meters long with towers that rise to a height of 43 meters. There was a walkway on the upper span but it was closed in 1910 because it had become a haunt of prostitutes and thieves. It has recently been re-opened.

Millennium Bridge

The Millennium Bridge, linking Bankside and the City was closed within days of its opening in 2001 because of its inability to carry any more than a handful of pedestrians without wobbling alarmingly. The bridge was closed for more than six months while structural changes were made to stop the wobbling and it re-opened in January 2002.

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