Image credit: Garden Bridge
The newest addition to the capital is an exciting venture into both architecture and sustainability: The Garden Bridge. A green space in the heart of London, it will serve as both a public garden and a crossing over the Thames. A seasonal landscape will display a variety intended to represent the diversity of the city itself, while cementing London’s status as one of the greenest cities in the world.
It’s an exciting prospect, but one we’ll have to wait to come to fruition. The Garden Bridge Trust is a charity that’s been set up to raise funds for the project, and construction isn’t due to begin until 2016. In the meantime, we’ve gathered a list of some of London’s best bridges for you to explore.
Image credit: Mendhak
The first mention has to go to historical legend and nursery rhyme namesake, London Bridge. Beginning as a timber bridge by the Roman founders of London, the bridge has taken many forms – including the famous stone-arched bridge, and today’s box girder bridge. It leads from the City of London to Southwark.
Image credit: Robert Pittman
Following on from London Bridge is the landmark most often confused with it – Tower Bridge. Built in the late 1800s, its iconic design is associated with the city of London by tourists from around the world, and is a Grade I listed structure. What began as distinct turquoise structures were painted red, white and blue in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee.
Image credit: Simon Gibson
The route to one of London’s biggest landmarks, Westminster Bridge links Lambeth with its namesake, Westminster. It’s painted predominately in green, the same colour as the leather seats in the House of Commons. It was originally proposed in 1664, but due to opposition, it wasn’t built until 1862. In 1981, it was designated a Grade II listed structure.
Image credit: Luke Nicolaides
Millennium Bridge opened in June 2000 in accordance with its name. It leads from Bankside, near the Tate Modern, to the City of London, near St Paul’s Cathedral. The eye-catching steel suspension design makes it stand out as one of London’s most modern constructions – but it hasn’t launched without issue. Two days after it opened, pedestrians reported an unusual swaying motion, leading to its nickname: the “Wobbly Bridge” (read more about some of London’s major projects with ‘issues’ here).
Image credit: Mike Rolls
One of the lesser-known London landmarks, the Albert Bridge is a Grade II listed building that leads from Chelsea to Battersea. Built in 1873, but proved to be structurally unsound, it was rejuvenated in the 1880s, before being modified by the Greater London Council in 1973. This chequered history means the finished piece is a mix of three different design eras.
Image credit: Duncan
Build on the site of what was once an ancient ford, the Chelsea Bridge also connects Chelsea to Battersea. It was originally named the Victoria Bridge, but was found structurally unsound at first build. The name was changed to avoid associated the Royal Family with a potential collapse.
To discover more of London’s latest landmarks, join our Modern Architecture walking tour. And, if you’d like to explore other green spots while you wait for the Garden Bridge to open, check out our Sustainable London walking tour.