Our Patch October 2015 - Page 16

Our Patch OCTOBER 2015 Where’s all the traffic? The new bridge in 1887 LOOKING BACK Simply pop a Golden Ticket in with your recycling HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE Look out for your Golden Tickets or download them. www.wrwa.gov.uk/GoldenTicket T his elegant structure is the second suspension bridge built from Hammersmith to Barnes. The original, designed by William Tierney Clark and opened in 1827, was the first of its kind over the river. Although it was a success, engineers questioned its structural safety as road traffic increased throughout the 19th century, and in 1882 plans were made for a new version. Three years later a temporary bridge was used while the work took place. Sir Joseph Bazalgette was responsible H A M M ERS M IT H for the design, insisting on the finest materials and workmanship in wrought and cast iron. The new bridge was opened by Prince Albert Victor on 18 June 1887. The celebrations were muted as the council decided street decorations were an unnecessary waste of public funds. From the mid 20th century on, the bridge has been closed from time to time for repair and strengthening. With the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1984, care for the bridge passed to Hammersmith & Fulham borough. Hammersmith Bridge is best known as a landmark in the Boat Race, but it has attracted less welcome attention. There have been three attempts to blow it up, the first in 1939 when it was saved by the bravery of a Chiswick man, Maurice Childs, who picked up a suitcase containing a smoking bomb and hurled it into the water, where it exploded. Childs was awarded the George Cross for his action. For more about old and new bridges, a history entitled Hammersmith Bridge by Charles Hailstone is for sale at the borough archives and libraries.