Hungerford or Charing Cross Bridge

Page 55

Survey of London: Volume 23, Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1951.

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The southern approach to Hungerford Bridge was formed across the ground immediately south of the site of Lambeth Waterworks which was purchased by the Hungerford and Lambeth Suspension Footbridge Company from the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1840. (fn. 116) The ground had previously been occupied by George Smith, timber merchant. It was part of Float Mead, shown as in the occupation of Mr. Lee in 1682, and described in 1717 as a messuage, wharf and timber yard. (fn. 117)

The construction of the bridge had been authorized by an Act of Parliament of 1836 (fn. 118) and amending Act of 1843 (fn. 119) with the intention of bringing more custom to the newly rebuilt Hungerford Market. The bridge was not, however, opened until 1st May, 1845. (fn. n1) (fn. 120)

It was designed by Sir Isambard K. Brunel. Four broad chains were carried on two brick piers. The piers, which were in the Italian style, were built in the river and formed a central and two side spans (Plate 5a).

Its existence here was very brief. In 1859 the Charing Cross Railway Act (fn. 121) authorized the making of a railway to cross the Thames by a bridge at or near the site of Charing Cross Bridge, and the removal of the suspension bridge. The chains and ironwork of the old bridge were sold for £5,000, to be used for the suspension bridge then in course of erection over the river Avon at Clifton, near Bristol. The new railway bridge was begun in 1860 and opened early in 1864, provision being made at the side for pedestrian traffic. (fn. 122)

A toll of a halfpenny payable at both ends of the bridge was charged for foot passengers (fn. 120) until 1878. (fn. 123)


  • n1. It was an inauspicious beginning that the same numbers of the Illustrated London News which recorded the opening of Hungerford Suspension Bridge reported the collapse of the suspension bridge at Great Yarmouth.
  • 116. Church Commissioners: Deeds, 91141.
  • 117. Church Commissioners: Deeds, 90782, fol. 38.
  • 118. Public Act, 6 and 7 Wm. IV, cap. 133.
  • 119. Local Act, 6 and 7 Vic., cap. 19.
  • 120. III. Lond. News.
  • 121. Public Act, 22 and 23 Vic., cap. 81.
  • 122. L.C.C., Bridges, 1914.
  • 123. Local Act, 40 and 41 Vic., cap. 99.