23 April 2009

Thames Crossings 8: Hammersmith Bridge

Downriver from Barnes Railway Bridge is Hammersmith Bridge. The historic and distinctive suspension bridge went up in 1887 on the foundations of a similar previous bridge, and has been repainted its original pea-soup colour.

There are bike lanes but they do what bike lanes always do: separate you from the traffic fussily but safely, only to dump you into a narrow stream of traffic on the bridge itself. You aren't allowed to cycle on the footways.

It was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the great Victorian engineer whose new system of sewers in the 1860s helped take raw sewage away from millions of London households. His great-great-grandson Peter is a leading figure in TV, whose popularisation of formats such as Big Brother and Deal or no deal has done just the opposite.

Continuing from Hammersmith Bridge, the north bank has no riverside path, only a web of side roads. The south side is a pleasant riverside path and finally a tarmac lane past boathouses that takes you to Putney Bridge, about a mile and a half away.

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