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Seven bridges for... six boroughs become London's latest listed landmarks
Seven of London's bridges spanning over a hundred and forty years of Thames crossings were today listed by Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, acting upon the advice of English Heritage.
Chelsea, Lambeth and Richmond Railway Bridges have all been listed at Grade II, whilst Cremorne, Hammersmith, Twickenham and Vauxhall Bridges have all been listed at, or upgraded to, Grade II*.
Announcing the listing of the bridges, which will give them greater protection against unsympathetic development, Andy Burnham said:
"Bridges have straddled the Thames, uniting North and South London, for centuries. In fact, there is evidence of structures across the river dating as far back as 1500BC. These seven examples represent the very best of Britain's bridge-building heritage; from one of the first modern suspension bridges in the world to Britain's only example of sculpture on a river crossing.
"They show British engineering at its best. I believe they should be celebrated and preserved for generations to come."
Simon Thurley, Chief Executive for English Heritage said:
"London's bridges are the vertebrae of this great city's spine - the River Thames. Considering their architectural and historic contribution to the capital, a surprising number of these magnificent river crossings do not have statutory protection.
I am therefore delighted that the Minister has agreed with our advice and has awarded these spans listed status or upgraded their original listing. It is a fantastic endorsement of London's heritage."
The oldest Thames bridge being listed today, Cremorne Bridge, was opened on 2 March, 1863, and is one of the earliest surviving railway bridges to cross the Thames in its original form. It connects the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham with Wandsworth, and was originally built to link up the main northbound lines out of Paddington and Euston stations with the southbound lines from Waterloo, Victoria and Clapham Junction.
The newest, Chelsea Bridge, represented a major step forward in British bridge-building practice. Its construction had used the wood of Douglas fir trees from British Columbia, and it was opened by the Prime Minister of Canada, W L Mackenzie King on 6 May 1937. The bridge itself is 212.7 metres long, 25 metres wide and has heraldic designs on the four tall turrets that guard the entrances to the bridge; two of which have a golden galleon with two shields beneath, one which is decorated with the crests of the counties that surround London and the last, which depicts doves holding olive branches.
The bridge with the most interesting history is probably Lambeth Bridge. Opened on 12 July, 1929 by King George V and Queen Mary, it was built by the same firm who built the Tyne Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The site of Lambeth Bridge was an ancient landing site dating from the 13th century, and was used to receive the monarch on state occasions. Before a bridge was erected, a horse-ferry shuttled between Lambeth and Millbank, hence the name of its western approach road, Horseferry Road. In 1965, it became the first of the Capital's bridges to be tunnelled beneath to create a pedestrian walkway along the embankment.
Notes to editors
1. The bridges have been listed as follows: Chelsea Bridge (listed at Grade II); Cremorne Bridge, West London Extension Railway Bridge (listed at Grade II*); Hammersmith Bridge (upgraded to Grade II*); Lambeth Bridge and attached parapets, light standards, associated walls to approaches and obelisks (listed at Grade II); Richmond Railway Bridge and approach viaduct (listed at Grade II); Twickenham Bridge and attached railings, lamp standards and light brackets (upgraded to Grade II*) and Vauxhall Bridge (listed at Grade II*).
2. The main purpose of listing a building is to ensure that care will be taken over decisions affecting its future, that any alterations respect the particular character and interest of the building, and that the case for its preservation is taken fully into account in considering the merits of any redevelopment proposals.
3. Further details of English Heritage's recommendations can be obtained from Historic Environment Designation Branch, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH.
Public enquiries 020 7211 6200
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH