Did you know that before 1750 there was only one bridge that crossed the Thames? Nowadays there are 35 which go over the London's river from Tower bridge to Hampton Court bridge. Each bridge is unique and has a different story to tell. While we are lucky to have wonderful green spaces in London, the Lockdown has resulted in parks being rammed so it's a great time to take advantage of a relatively empty central London (devoid of commuters and tourists) and head to some of the central bridges.
We picked the bridges from Blackfriars to Lambeth Bridge where you can enjoy fantastic views up and done the Thames and clearly see some of London's iconic landmarks (the Houses of Parliament, the Wheel, the Globe Theatre, St Paul's Cathedral, Lambeth Palace are just some examples). We also had great fun finding out some quirky facts about these bridges.
Blackfriars is named after the Black Friars whose monastery was on the north bank of the Thames. The ends of the bridge are shaped like a pulpit in a reference to Black Friars
The Millennium Bridge
When the Millennium Bridge was opened in June 2000 it wobbled and had to be closed almost immediately for repairs – ever since then it has been known as “the wobbly bridge”
Waterloo Bridge is nicknamed the “Ladies Bridge” because it was built mainly by women in WW2 while men were away fighting.
Westminster Bridge is painted green because it is nearest the House of Commons and matches with the green benches in the chamber in the Palace of Westminster.
While Westminster Bridge is on the Commons side of the Houses of Parliament, Lambeth Bridge is red and is nearest the House of Lords (with its matching red benches).
The obelisks at either end of the bridge are topped with pineapples. The story goes that they are a nod to John Tradescant who grew the first pineapple in Britain. He is buried nearby in the churchyard of St-Mary-at-Lambeth (now The Museum of Garden History)
Anya Waddington 21 January 2021