LXI.-Vauxhall, Waterloo, and Southwark Bridges.
and the bridges of London, , and Blackfriars, having been already treated of, there remain only the more recent structures above-named for the present paper. In thus concluding the entire subject of the Thames and the modes of communication between its opposite banks, we shall adopt a method that will enable us, whilst noticing in detail the particular bridges in question, to look at the whole of these great works in a more connected manner than we have hitherto had a favourable opportunity of doing. At the same time we may notice some of those interesting buildings or memorials that enrich the intervening parts of the river. A stranger, visiting for the time these edifices of which he had heard so much, should pass directly from to another, whilst the impressions made on his mind are yet fresh, each illustrating each, and thus survey the whole. The exceeding lightness of the iron arches of , for instance, will thus impress more strongly on his mind the gigantic, almost castle-looking solidity of , and speak as plainly of the different dates of their erection as if he beheld the figures written up on their fronts. Thus, also, he will see with what happy propriety the bridges, and their positions in the metropolis, are united: , at extremity, will remind him that he is approaching the termination of this vast aggregate of peopled
habitations, where, if |
it is with greatly decreased velocity and amount, whilst London, at the other, is equally characteristic of the wonderful traffic it was built to accommodate; and Waterloo, almost midway between the , and in the very heart of the metropolis, is, in its graceful beauty and its perfect strength, the building above all others best fitted to be the central object, towards which the other bridges on both sides seem, as it were, to lead. The best mode of viewing the bridges when, as is most commonly the case, time is of consequence, and a rapid survey alone desired, is to take the steam-boat from to . As we stand upon the newly-erected pier, with its handsome stone archways, waiting the departure of the boat, we may include in our survey , a still better starting-point for the eye than , with its rude timber superstructure, and its eighteen or piers. This was built in by a company of proprietors, in number, who advanced each We cannot see Putney Bridge,--that is too far up the river, but it is of little consequence; for in style, we may say with an alteration of the well-known phrase, it out-Batterseas Battersea. But though Putney Bridge is of little consequence in itself, its history has passage too rich to be omitted, and which illustrates very amusingly the nature of the opposition that so long retarded the erection of a bridge in or near London. From the Hon. Mr. Grey's collection of the Debates of the during the latter portion of the century, we extract the following recorded opinions :--
The Bill was rejected by to .
The steam-boat now receives us, and we are soon gliding rapidly on towards , passing in our way many a place or building of literary or historical interest. There on our left, just beyond the pier, you see, in that handsome row of lofty aristocratical-looking houses facing the river, the building once occupied by the famous Don Saltero, and where you may still take a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and muse over all the old memories of the famous Museum of Curiosities. On the same side, within the walls of that ancient church with its brick tower, lie buried the mutilated remains of the great Chancellor More (a fine monument marks the spot); and it was there that, whilst Lord Chancellor, he was accustomed to put on a surplice, and sing in the choir with the other choristers. We look in vain for any traces of More's house; that house which Henry at time so loved to visit, and where More introduced Holbein to his notice; that house at which Erasmus too was a frequent visitor whilst in England, and of which he speaks in such delightful terms.
(More), he says,
The great court of here too extends its front to the water, with its porticoes and piazzas, reminding us of the poor orange girl, Nell Gwynn, who, according to the tradition, lived to influence a king's mind to the accomplishment of such a work; and where those trees, with their intensely black foliage expanded horizontally on the air, attract the eye, is the botanical garden of the Apothecaries' Company; and the trees are cedars of Lebanon, grown, we believe, from slips of the original Syrian trees of Scripture, presented to Sir Hans Sloane, the founder of the garden. On the other side of the river the white stones of the
and the bright green of the sward of the embankment above, show that London has not yet extended so far; indeed, in the proper season may see the ripe corn waving to and fro in the broad low-lying meadows of Battersea beyond. The steam-boat here stops for an instant nearly opposite a place famous in the annals of Cockney diversions, the Red House. From whence there is little to attract attention till we reach .
This structure was at called Regent Bridge, we presume from the circumstance that the stone was laid by Lord Dundas, as proxy for the Prince Regent (George IV.); but chief advantage of the proposed structure having in all probability been the facility it would afford to the visitors of the famous gardens, the name of was eventually given to it. We have now, probably, lost the gardens for ever; it is pleasant therefore to have some memorial of the
|spot made so familiar to us by the writings of our great men. is of iron, and, it is said, the lightest structure of the kind in Europe. It has been supposed that we are the inventors of iron bridges, but the nation that lays claim to so many other wonders undoubtedly has the best right to this, as may be seen from a reference to Du Halde's work on . , like Putney and , was opposed by the City--the event shows with what success. The work was carried on by a body of shareholders, who were to be repaid by tolls. The original proposer was a gentleman we have before had occasion to mention as the projector of tunnels, Mr. Ralph Dodd, who certainly does seem to have had the misfortune of constantly witnessing other men reaping the honours he had sown. The managers of seem to have been particularly difficult to please. Not only Mr. Dodd, but Sir J. Bentham and Mr. Rennie were for a short time employed by them, whilst, after jall, the design of the existing bridge belongs to Mr. James Walker. The work was commenced on the , the weather that day being so bad that, although the coins, &c., were deposited by the Regent's proxy, the stone was left for the time uncovered. In , Prince Charles, eldest son of the Duke of Brunswick (so soon after killed at Waterloo), laid the stone of the abutments on the Surrey side. The entire work was finished in , at an expense of about , and opened in the month of July. The iron superstructure with its arches is supported on rusticated stone piers. are equal; each feet in span; the roadway measures feet across; and the entire length of the bridge is feet.|
We are again on our way, and some of the passengers are wondering what that strange-looking building can be, with so many angular wings and small extinguisher-capped towers or buttresses on the left: that is the Penitentiary, where Bentham had hoped to have seen his views on prison discipline carried out, but was thwarted by the personal influence of King George III., in opposition to his own ministry; and although the building was erected according to his designs, the plan pursued with regard to discipline was not Bentham's. As we pass the , where, prior to the erection of the bridge we are fast approaching (), passengers were accustomed to cross, we are reminded of proposal that has never yet been carried into effect--a proposal for another metropolitan bridge, to extend from the to , beside the gateway of . It was to be called the Royal Clarence Bridge, and an Act was brought into Parliament. But there the matter seems to have stopped, and is likely to remain; so we must content ourselves, if we desire to cross the Thames here, with the same mode of conveyance which prevailed so far back as the century; when, according to the old legend, St. Peter descended to perform himself the act of dedication to himself of the new church which Sebert, King of the East Saxons, had just built on the site of the ruins of a temple of Apollo, flung down by an earthquake. St. Peter, it appears, descended on the Surrey side, with a host of heavenly choristers, but the night being stormy had great difficulty in finding any to carry him over. Edric, a fisherman, at length crossed with him in his wherry, beheld the illumination which streamed forth from the church windows, and then took the saint back to the Surrey shore; being rewarded on his way by a miraculous draught of salmon,
| and the promise that if
he gave a to the church, he should never want plenty of that fish.
Such is the relation of the circumstances attending the earliest erection of a church on the
site of the abbey whose beautiful towers yet appear above the line of the unfinished houses of
Parliament, but which promise when completed to shut them entirely out from our present point
of view. In our account of we have referred to the sinking of the western pier of the foot arch, and the consequent removal of the arch. We are now passing through
it, and the circumstance reminds us of a feature of this accident which previously escaped our
attention. A great deal of ingenuity was shown in rebuilding the arch, which was made double;
we have since found that Stukely was the author of the plan which Labelye followed on that
occasion, and from his communication to the |
in , in which he lays claim to the
the enthusiastic antiquary appears to have been very proud of it.
From to Waterloo there is little on either side of individual interest to attract the attention, unless the scientific mysteries of the shot-towers on side, or the grave respectability of many of the old houses yet remaining on the other, with their projecting bow windows-those not unworthy-looking descendants of the old palatial mansions of the place-be considered exceptions. There is the fine water-gate, too, of Inigo Jones, the last remnant of the mansion of the haughty Duke of Buckingham. is now immediately
|before us; and, as we gaze long and earnestly on that exquisite combination of all that is most valuable in bridge architecture with all that is most beautiful,the broad and level roadway, and the light and elegant balustrade, the almost indestructible foundations, and the airy sweep of the arches they support,--we feel the justice of Canova's opinion, that this is the finest bridge in Europe; and can appreciate the great artist's enthusiasm when he added that it was alone worth coming from Rome to London to see. And in Canova's words the opinion of professional men, English and foreign, as well as of the most enlightened|
| connoisseurs, has found voice. Can our readers imagine a paltry wooden bridge
standing in its room? We had a narrow escape of such an anti-climax between the bridge and its
central position. The movers in the affair had determined on the
erection of a timber structure, with the idea of raising tolls sufficient in-time to have built
of stone: we fear it would have been a very long time. The opposition
of the City in this case had a salutary effect. For successive
sessions the matter was hotly contested, and the company put to enormous expense; but at last
they manfully resolved to have a structure worthy of the spot, and an Act for a stone bridge
was obtained in . The proprietors were incorporated under the title of the |
with power to raise , but which was subsequently increased from time to time, and ultimately above a million was expended on the work. The man whose name is so indissolubly connected with some of the mightiest outward manifestations of the greatness of London, her bridges and docks (we refer to the late Mr. John Rennie), was applied to for designs. This gentleman was the son of a farmer of Phantassie, in Haddingtonshire (Scotland), and had risen to the eminence he enjoyed through the successive stages of a country schoolmaster, who, whilst teaching what he himself knew, was a most assiduous attendant upon the lectures of others, and thus stored up that deep and extensive acquaintance with mechanical philosophy which was afterwards to be so valuable;--a working mechanist, earning his livelihood with his own hands and by the sweat of his own brow; and lastly, a confidential assistant of Messrs. Watt and Boulton, who employed him in the construction of the immense flour-works which stood for a short time near , but which were burnt down in , only years after their erection. From this period his talents became widely known and were in continual requisition. The stone bridges of Kelso, Musselburgh, &c., the Grand Western, the Aberdeen, and the Kennet and Avon Canals, the drainage of the fens at Witham in Lincolnshire, the , the East and the West India at , the new docks at Hull, the Prince's at Liverpool, those of Dublin, Greenock, and Leith, and lastly, the famous Breakwater of Plymouth, are but a portion of the works which he has been the chief means of giving to our country. In London half the bridges, and those the finest, may be said to belong to him; for whilst Waterloo and were built under his direct superintendence, he also furnished the designs for London, which, after his death in , were acted upon by his son, the present Sir John Rennie. designs were furnished for the proposed Strand Bridge, with , the other with arches: the last was adopted. The site chosen was the space extending from a little to the west of , on the Middlesex shore, to a part close by on that of Surrey. The name of Cuper is connected with a once famous garden, a sort of small and low , which Pennant remembered as the resort of the profligate of both sexes. Cuper, it appears, had been gardener to the collector of the well-known statues, the Earl of Arundel, and begged from his noble master several of his mutilated statues to ornament the
The place was also noted for its fireworks. Of the alterations in the respective neighbourhoods on both sides the river since the erection of the bridge, the traces are too legible, on the most cursory
|inspection, to need much explanation. The great street or road from the bridge to the Obelisk in Fields is entirely new, as is also the continuation of into the . The splendid approaches on the other side also date from the erection of the bridge. During the progress of the latter, the site of was partly occupied by remains of the Savoy Palace, its fine Gothic windows and buttressed walls exciting the grief of many an antiquary who came to look on them for the last time. With these was also swept away the chapel of the German Reformed Protestants.|
The stone of the bridge was laid on the , when a block of Cornish granite was lowered over an excavation containing gold and silver coins of the reign, and a plate with a suitable inscription. The foundations, unlike those of Blackfriars and Bridges, were laid in coffer-dams. This was the most expensive, but the most certain and durable mode. The ground was found to consist mainly of a stratum of gravel over a stratum of clay, into which piles of beech and elm, feet long and thick, were driven in concentric rows. The whole was then strengthened by masonry. The surface of the piers, as well as of the abutments and entire superstructure, were built of blocks of Craigleith and Derbyshire granite. In building the arches, the stones were rammed together with great force, so that when the centres were removed not of them sunk more than an inch and a half. It has been well said that the accuracy of the work is as extraordinary as its beauty. Not the least noticeable part of the bridge are the series of arches on each side, which raise the road to the level of the bridge. There are no less than of these semicircular brick arches on the Surrey side, each of feet span, in addition to of larger dimensions, that crosses the road now lying buried, as it were, in the hollow beneath; and on side. Over these arches is carried a magnificent roadway of feet in width. If to the length of the bridge, feet, we add the abutments, , and the range of brick arches, , we have a total length of feet! A writer in the
some years ago, speaking of the pride of the Parisians in their new bridges (for they, like us, added that number to their capital in the early part of the present century), says that even in surface and mass alone Waterloo would surpass the bridges united. Certainly the dimensions we have given divest the remark of any appearance of exaggeration.
As the work advanced towards completion, the name (Strand Bridge) was altered, for reasons thus expressed in the Act of Parliament of , relating to the structure :--
The bridge thus received the appellation it now bears. Similar considerations fixed the date of the public opening.
About this very time, whilst the public admiration was universally lavished upon the work, a curious claim appeared in the publication from which we transcribe the foregoing account of the opening of the structure. It was known that Mr. Ralph Dodd had been the original projector of a bridge at this part of the Thames, as well as at ; but it appears he was by no means satisfied with that amount of acknowledgment, but expressly claimed the design of the existing edifice; and, by way of proof, offered to exhibit his original plans to whoever thought proper to see them. [n.168.2] This is curious, but still more so is the fact that we do not find any immediate answer given to the statement in the publication where it appeared--if indeed, which seems doubtful, was given to it at all. Another claim to some of the chief features of has been put forward by the French for their bridge at Neuilly; and certainly the architect of that bridge set the example of the equal arches and level roadway, which were adopted in the bridges of and Waterloo. of the latter are of a semi-elliptical form, having a span of feet, and a height of above the high water even of spring-tides. The piers, feet wide, are decorated by double (-quarter) columns of the Grecian Doric style, supporting an entablature, which forms within a square raised recess. Standing on the seat of this recess, has perhaps the finest view of London that can be obtained, and which is enhanced by the quiet and comparative solitude of the place--a strange advantage, by the way, for such a bridge, and that, however much we may individually appreciate, we should be glad to see lost by the removal of its cause--the toll. A Society has been for some time in active operation, which will no doubt ultimately succeed in doing away with this very injurious restriction on the utility of the structure. The tolls on and Bridges, which also fall within the scope of the Society's labours, will no doubt share the same fate. The great increase of passengers over Waterloo since the reduction of the toll from a penny to a halfpenny, shows how many must have previously submitted to inconvenience for the sake of the veriest trifle apparently, but which perhaps was felt not to be a trifle, and may serve as a still more valuable illustration of the multitudes who would avail themselves of this bridge if there was no toll whatever imposed.
The expense of has excited much comment, and it was, as we have stated, above a million--a most enormous sum to be expended in a single work; but the homely principle, that it is better to do a thing well at , than trust to after-patchings and improvements, was never more strikingly illustrated than in the bridges of London. Waterloo is built of granite, in the most perfect manner, and the foundations and piers have been laid so as to last for ages uninjured; but certainly it was dear, or at least expensive. On the other hand, Blackfriars and are-partly from the soft nature of the stone, partly from the inadequacy of the foundations-constantly under repair (something like a , we believe, is now being expended on the latter); but they were cheap! The beauty of every can see; its strength must be tested by time: but it seems certain, that if ever a work was built with promise of permanence it is this. How much intelligent foreigners have been impressed with its solid grandeur, we may see in the enthusiasm of M. Dupin, the author of the well-known work on the
In taking a farewell glance at this bridge, we remember with pain how many unfortunates have stood shivering in those very recesses, taking last farewell of the world in which they had experienced so much misery. We have no idea, nor do we wish to have, of the entire extent of this dreadful evil, which has of late years given a new and most unhappy kind of celebrity to , but the cases of accomplished and attempted suicide here must have been fearfully numerous. A suicide, as it almost deserves to be called, of another but scarcely less harrowing kind, will be in every 's memory, and of which we have already spoken, that of the American diver, Scott.[n.169.1]
Between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges, the magnificent fagade of , and the fresh-looking gardens of the Temple, are the chief objects of attraction-each calling up a long train of historical memories. The name of the recalls the memory of the reckless statesman who built the earlier mansion
| here with the materials derived from the old Church of , the cloisters of old , the tower and part of the body of the
Church of St. John of Jerusalem, and the inns of the Bishops of Worcester, Lichfield and
Coventry, Llandaff, and an inn of Chancery called Inn, in which Occleve,a poet of the reign of Henry V., is supposed to have
studied. As to the , who does
not remember the famous scene of the Roses in Shakspere's |
? It was into these very gardens, as being
that the contentious lords, Plantagenet and Somerset, adjourned from the hall, where they were
and Plantagenet, impatient at finding the other nobles unwilling to give an opinion as to who is right in the quarrel, exclaimed-
On which Somerset adds,
And thus began the
which did indeed, in the words of Plantagenet,
and in which, with just retribution, the nobles whose ambition, or pride, or jealousy, brought on their country so dire a calamity, brought at the same time on their own kindred, and their own order generally, a most sweeping destruction. A picturesque scene of a still earlier time is also connected with the . Immediately after the news reached Edward I. that Bruce had been crowned at Scone as monarch of Scotland, great preparations were set on foot for a fresh expedition into that country, and among the rest, solemn proclamation was made that the Prince of Wales (afterwards Edward II.) would be knighted on the feast of Pentecost, and all the young nobility of England were summoned to receive a similar honour at the same time. On the eve of the day appointed, noble youths, with their pages and retinues, assembled in these gardens, where purple robes, fine linen garments, and mantles woven with gold, were distributed to them. We may imagine the splendour and bustle of the scene. The trees were cut down to enable them to pitch their tents. The greater part of the immense assemblage watched their arms in the Temple Church, the others in the Abbey of .
The steam-boat is now passing by , which is so altered from what it was, that if the shade of the architect could revisit the earth, in order once more to look on his great work, we doubt whether he would recognise it: he certainly would not acknowledge it as Blackfriars. As the idea of change is suggestive of another, we cannot but remark, as we look around us here, what great alterations this part of London in particular has known. , a prison, a house of industry, a regal palace, a Saxon stronghold;
|the White and Black Friars, homes for holy and peaceful men-then the a den of thieves (Alsatia) into which Justice dares not enter, the other a fashionable May Fair, and now both lost in the undistinguishable mass of London; Baynard's Castle also utterly swept away; the Fleet, again, a concealed sewer, an open ditch, a navigable canal spanned by bridge after bridge, a wide and possibly rapid river: for such it must have been if the records speak truly that make Sweyn, in his invasion in , pass up the Fleet with all his vessels as far as , and there anchor; and there is noticeable corroborating fact--an anchor has been found at that very part. These are but individual illustrations of the extensive changes wrought in the lapse of time in the neighbourhood before us. We have referred to Baynard's Castle. It stood here on the left just beyond , at the end of the City Wall, which, after passing along the side of the Fleet so as to shelter the Blackfriars, turned round and extended for a short distance on the bank of the river. As to its antiquity, it may be sufficient to say that it was founded by of the Conqueror's followers, Baynard, who died in the reign of Rufus, and that it was of the castles described by Beckett's secretary, Fitzstephen, in the reign of Henry II.; and as to its size, that at a meeting of the great estates of the kingdom in Richard Duke of York lodged in it with his retainers. In it belonged to Robert Fitzwalter, as we learn from a very curious document, consisting of a declaration of his rights as castellain and banner-bearer of the City. formally made, and at great length, to John Blondon, mayor. In this he recites in what manner he ought to come to in time of war to declare himself ready to do his service, and in what manner he ought to be met, how they are then to ride forth in company, the sort of horse and amount of money they are|
| to give him, the mode of summoning the commoners to join them
under the |
and the march to Aidgate, and if need be the there issuing forth to do battle, with the amount he is to receive for every siege he undertakes (), &c.
As to his rights in time of peace, they consist of his soke or ward in which he enjoys particular privileges (locally, we presume, the Castle Baynard Ward of the present day); such as a certain degree of control over the punishment of criminals: traitors, it appears, were to be
The said Robert, also, was to be called to every great council of the City, and when he came to the hustings at
&c. &c. The castle was burnt down in , and rebuilt by Duke Humphrey. Among the historical events which signalise the history of Castle Baynard is the assumption of the crown here by Edward IV. in , in opposition to the reigning monarch, Henry VI.; and the commencement of a new and more eventful phase of the
begun in the . But the most interesting of these events is the performance of a similar act by Richard III. here--a scene which Shakspere has also made familiar to every -the scene where Gloster appears in the gallery between bishops, and accepts, with such an exquisite show of reluctance, the crown offered by the poor mystified Lord Mayor. Here, too, Lady Jane Grey's council, which had removed from her side at the Tower in order to do her better service, the moment they arrived declared for quoteueen Mary, and set the seal to the illustrious victim's fate. Castle Baynard was destroyed in the Great Fire.
Not the least interesting part of the river is that now lying on our right between the bridges of Blackfriars and , and known generally from a very remote period as the . The stairs towards which yonder wherry with its somewhat heavy load is gliding are called , the last relic of the once popular place of amusement when bear-baiting was not only a fashionable but a queenly sport. was also a regular playhouse at period, for of Ben Jonson's critics, Dekker, reproaches him with his ill success on the stage generally, and in particular with his performance of
at the . In the scaffolding supporting the spectators fell during a performance, and great numbers were killed or severely injured. This was looked on as a judgment by many. Beyond were the chief , properly so called as they seem to have been used for such purposes only, and not for dramatic entertainments: the name is yet preserved in that of a street opening from . Stow describes them as places wherein were kept
Farther on still were the stews or brothels, licensed as they are to this day in Paris. Their very antiquity imparts a certain degree of interest and respectability to a revolting subject. It appears that
before the reign of Henry II., must be indeed old. There is a curious historical passage connected with these houses. Till the time of Wat Tyler's insurrection they belonged to no less a person than William , mayor of London; and although we do not exactly wish to insinuate that the worthy mayor was roused by the spoil of this part of his property which ensued at the instance of the rebels, yet it may have done something towards sharpening his zeal, and made him bestir himself so effectually as he did at the critical moment. The original number of houses was eighteen, which were reduced to in the reign of Henry VII. They must have presented a strange-looking aspect from the river, with their signs
Stow, the writer of the foregoing quotation, goes on to say,
[n.173.1] The nuisance was at last abolished by
towards the close of the reign of Henry VIII. And here, too, on the was' the Globe Theatre, Shakspere's theatre, situated very nearly in a line with the approach to the present , which now bestrides with its colossal arches about the same part of the river as that through which the courtiers of Elizabeth and James's reigns, in all their bravery of costume, were wont to pass to and fro, to welcome some fresh novelty from the world's master mind, and learn, if they were capable of it, some new lessons in that wondrous school of humanity.
was erected at an expense of about , by a company of proprietors, who obtained the necessary Act of Parliament in . On the reading of the Bill in the , Sir T. Turton, in answer to the opposition offered by Sirs W. Curtis and C. Price, of civic fame, remarked that Mr. Rennie had given it as his opinion that after hard frost might not last year: an excellent reason certainly for expediting the erection of a new bridge in the vicinity. The spot selected was from on the Surrey shore to a place close by the Cranes Wharf, and between that and , on the opposite or Middlesex bank; a part of some note even from the very remotest periods of metropolitan history. It forms a portion of the Vintry Ward, so called from the vintners or wine merchants of Bordeaux, who from a very early period were accustomed to bring their lighters and other vessels laden with wine. to this part, and there land it by means of cranes (whence the name of Cranes Wharf), for sale during the next days.
| But in the reign of Edward I. the vintners complained that they could
In consequence, that monarch ordered redress to be given, and houses were built for the merchants' accommodation, with vaults, &c., for the stowage of their wines. To make room for them a characteristic feature of very old London was swept away.
[n.174.1] The vintners, however, proved too powerful for the cooks, and so the latter had to leave the field to their antagonists. The original name of was Edred's hithe (. Edred's harbour). Formerly ships were brought up thus far to discharge their cargoes, having a drawbridge which opened to allow them to pass. The name hithe is supposed to be derived from Henry III. having given its profits to his spouse, and at the same time the ships of the cinque ports were compelled to bring their corn thenceforward only to this place.
The bridge was begun on the , and the stone of the south pier laid by Lord Keith on the , who, with the other gentlemen of the committee of management, partook of a cold collation on a temporary bridge erected on the works. The whole was finished in less than years, and was opened, without any particular ceremony, at midnight (the bridge being brilliantly lighted with gas) in . As an iron bridge this is confessedly without a rival. are, for instance, the largest in existence, the centre having a span of feet, and each of the side ones measuring feet. The arch of the famous bridge at Sunderland has a span very nearly equal to this centre arch, but still it is less. As we now pass beneath this gigantic semicircle, and gaze upward upon the great iron-ribbed framework which supports it, feels half unconsciously inclined to fancy Cyclopean hands must have been here at work. But the engineer, in the sublimity of his views, smiles at our wonder, and reminds us that Telford had previously proposed to erect a bridge at this spot with arch only:
we do not know, in these days, what we may venture to disbelieve. With the exception of
|the piers and the abutments, the whole of is of cast iron. The preparing the foundations was a work of unusual magnitude and expense, on account of the extraordinary dimensions of the arches; of still greater difficulty and importance was the business of casting the superstructure, which took place at the iron-works of Messrs. Walker and Co., Rotherham, Yorkshire. Many of the solid pieces of casting weighed tons. There are great ribs, from to feet deep, riveted to diagonal braces, in each arch; and the height of the centre arch above low water is feet. The entire weight of iron is about tons. In building the bridge a mistake was committed that might have been attended with serious consequences, if timely discovery had not been made. To prevent the natural expansion of the metal with heat, some of the most important joinings of different parts of the work were tightly wedged with iron wedges. But as, in fact, nothing could prevent expansion under the operation of heat, it was found that a very unequal strain was produced, tending to the fracture of the entire bridge. The masons were accordingly employed night and day till the wedges were removed. Having mentioned this oversight, it is but proper to state that the accuracy of the work generally was most surprising. The centre arch sunk at the vortex, on removing the timber framework, just inch -eighths, and that was all.|
The erection of the bridge was followed, as in all the previous instances, by rapid and extensive changes in the neighbourhood, though, in the case of , these were confined chiefly to the Surrey side. The character of this part may be gathered, in some degree, from the notices we have given of the chief features of the place, the bear-gardens, brothels, &c.; and it need not, therefore, excite any surprise to find the extensive district, reaching from to the King's Bench, described, before the bridge was built, as covered with
Many of these, indeed, yet remain, but the carrying that fine road from the foot of the bridge direct to the Elephant and Castle has greatly improved the aspect and prosperity of the district.
In reviewing generally the collateral effects of the erection of the bridges of London, we are more particularly struck with what they have done for that part of the metropolis which lies on the opposite shore. If we remember the great branches they have sent out, , , , and , and each again putting forth a new system of offshoots; if we remember that Fields in the middle of the last century, and even at the commencement of the present; or, in a word, if we remember that the extensive districts comprised within the boundaries of and were, before the erection of these edifices, little better than a scattered assemblage of lanes and isolated houses and gardens, whilst now they form, with the parts adjacent, dense, continuous, and prosperous town, which may be said to have Battersea on side, and Greenwich for the other, for its proper limits, we shall have then some idea of the extrinsic, as well as of the intrinsic, greatness of the metropolitan bridges.
We conclude with the following document, for which we are mainly
indebted to Messrs. Britton and Pugin's work on the Public Buildings of London:-- |
[n.168.1] Gentleman's Mag., 1817 .
[n.168.2] Ibid. May, 1817.
[n.169.1] Vol. i. p. 418.
[n.173.1] Survey, p. 449.
[n.174.1] Translation-Stow's Survey, p. 711.
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|CHAPTER LI: Bermondsey: The Abbey|
|CHAPTER LII: Modern Bermondsey|
|CHAPTER LIII: The Mint|
|CHAPTER LIV: The Thames Tunnel|
|CHAPTER LV: The Docks|
|CHAPTER LVI: Westminster Bridge|
|CHAPTER LVII: Strawberry Hill--Walpole's London|
|CHAPTER LVIII: Blackfriards Bridge|
|CHAPTER LIX: Clerkenwell|
|CHAPTER LX: Strawberry Hill--Walpole's London (concluded from No. LVII)|
|CHAPTER LXI: Vauxhall, Waterloo, and Southwark Bridges|
|CHAPTER LXII: Barber-Surgeons' Hall|
|CHAPTER LXIII: The College of Surgeons|
|CHAPTER LXIV: The Royal Academy. No. 1|
|CHAPTER LXV: The Royal Academy. No. 2|
|CHAPTER LXVI: London Astrologers|
|CHAPTER LXVII: St. Giles's, Past and Present|
|CHAPTER LXVIII: The Post Office|
|CHAPTER LXIX: Pall Mall|
|CHAPTER LXX: The Temple Church, Its History and Associations|
|CHAPTER LXXI: Scotsmen in London, by James M'Turk, Esq.|
|CHAPTER LXXII: The Foundling Hospital|
|CHAPTER LXXIII: The Corn Exchange|
|CHAPTER LXXIV: Ely Place|
|CHAPTER LXXV: Goldsmiths' Hall|