Blackfriars Bridge seen from Waterloo Bridge
|OS grid reference|
|Maintained by|| Bridge House Estates,|
City of London Corporation
|Heritage status||Grade II listed structure|
|Preceded by||Waterloo Bridge|
|Followed by||Blackfriars Railway Bridge|
|Total length||923 feet (281 m)|
|Width||105 feet (32 m)|
|No. of spans||5|
|Constructed by||P. A. Thom & Co.|
|Opened||19 November 1769 (first bridge)|
6 November 1869 (current bridge)
Blackfriars Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames in London, between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge, carrying the A201 road. The north end is near the Inns of Court and Temple Church, along with Blackfriars station. The south end is near the Tate Modern art gallery and the Oxo Tower.
The first fixed crossing at Blackfriars was a 995-foot (303 m) long toll bridge designed in an Italianate style by Robert Mylne and constructed with nine semi-elliptical arches of Portland stone. Beating designs by John Gwynn and George Dance, it took nine years to build, opening to the public in 1769. It was the third bridge across the Thames in the then built-up area of London, supplementing the ancient London Bridge, which dated from several centuries earlier, and Westminster Bridge. It was originally named "William Pitt Bridge" (after the Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder) as a dedication, but its informal name relating to the precinct within the City named after the Blackfriars Monastery, a Dominican priory which once stood nearby, was generally adopted. It was later made toll free.
The City of London Corporation was responsible for promoting it and the location between the other two bridges was chosen because it was realised that the disused wharfage of the lower River Fleet from the Thames to what became Ludgate Circus would allow access into the north bank without unduly disrupting the neighbourhood; hence its name of New Bridge Street. The Fleet can be seen discharging into the Thames at its north side. By taking an access road from its southern landing to a junction with the routes created to simplify passage between those bridges to its east and west to the south it would also add to those improvements. This created the junction at St George's Circus between Westminster Bridge Road, Borough Road and the later named Blackfriars Road which crossed the largely open parish of Christchurch Surrey. The continuation to the south at the major junction at Elephant and Castle is therefore named London Road.
Although it was built of Portland stone the workmanship was very faulty. Between 1833 and 1840 extensive repairs were necessary, until at last it was decided to build a new bridge on the same site, which coincided with the creation of the Thames Embankment's junction with the new Queen Victoria Street and required a major reconfiguration. The original Blackfriars Bridge was demolished in 1860, P.A. Thom & Company won with the lowest tender and placed an order with Lloyds, Foster and Company for the necessary ironwork.Due to P.A. Thom's problems in finding solid foundations, Lloyds, Fosters & Company went into liquidation having lost £250,000 on the project. The metalwork was built by The Patent Shaft and Axletree Company, Wednesbury, following their takeover of Lloyds, Foster and Company.
The present bridge which on 6 November 1869 was opened by Queen Victoria 923 feet (281 m) long, consisting of five wrought iron arches built to a design by Joseph Cubitt. Cubitt also designed the adjacent rail bridge (now demolished) and it was a condition that the spans and piers of the two bridges be aligned. Like its predecessor it is owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. Like London Bridge the full length and its southern end is within the City's borders and not in the adjoining borough of Southwark. Due to the volume of traffic over the bridge, it was widened between 1907–10, from 70 feet (21 m) to its present 105 feet (32 m).is
The bridge attracted some international attention in June 1982, when the body of Roberto Calvi, a former chairman of Italy's largest private bank, was found hanging from one of its arches with five bricks and around $14,000 in three different currencies in his pockets. Calvi's death was initially treated as suicide, but he was on the run from Italy accused of embezzlement and in 2002 forensic experts concluded that he had been murdered by the Mafia, to whom he was indebted.In 2005, five suspected members of the Mafia were tried in a Rome court for Calvi's murder, but all were acquitted in June 2007 for lack of evidence.
On the piers of the bridge are stone carvings of water birds by sculptor John Birnie Philip. On the East (downstream) side (i.e. the side closer to the Thames Estuary and North Sea), the carvings show marine life and seabirds; those on the West (upstream) side show freshwater birds – reflecting the role of Blackfriars as the tidal turning point.
On the north side of the bridge is a statue of Queen Victoria (funded by Sir Alfred Seale Haslam), to whom the bridge was dedicated.
The ends of the bridge are shaped like a pulpit in a reference to Black Friars.
The bridge gave its name to Blackfriars Bridge railway station on the southern bank which opened in 1864 before closing to passengers in 1885 following the opening of what is today the main Blackfriars station. Blackfriars Bridge station continued as a goods stop until 1964 when it was completely demolished, and much of it redeveloped into offices.
The River Fleet empties into the Thames under the north end of Blackfriars Bridge. The structure was given Grade II listed status in 1972.
In 1774 the new bridge was mentioned in a popular song in Charles Dibdin's opera The Waterman,referring to the boatmen who used to carry fashionable folks to Vauxhall Gardens and Ranelagh Gardens.
"And did you not hear of the jolly young waterman,
Who at Blackfriars Bridge used for to ply?
And he feathered his oars with such skill and dexterity,
Winning each heart and delighting each eye."
A Bailey bridge constructed over the River Rhine at Rees, Germany, in 1945 by the Royal Canadian Engineers (R.C.E.) was named "Blackfriars Bridge", and, at 558 m (1814 ft) including the ramps at each end, was the longest Bailey bridge then constructed.
In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere , "Blackfriars Bridge" was named as the home of an unknown order of monks who held the key to an angelic prison. The bridge is also featured in the lyrics of the songs "The Resurrectionist" by the Pet Shop Boys, and "Cold Bread" by Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit.
In Louis A. Meyer's Bloody Jack: Being An Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy , Jacky is introduced as an orphan in early 19th-century London who lives with her orphan gang under Blackfriars Bridge.
The bridge is mentioned in Harold Pinter's play The Homecoming when the character Max suggests that his brother, Sam, would have sex for a few pennies here. The bridge also appears during the opening sequence of the film Happy-Go-Lucky , where the main character rides across it on a bicycle. In the 1998 spy film The Avengers , the bridge is destroyed by a tornado caused by a weather-changing machine built by a mad scientist when he causes a hurricane over London.
The bridge is also cited in several Italian songs referring to the death of Roberto Calvi: "Via Italia" by Gang and "Nostra signora dei depistati" by Modena City Ramblers.
The bridge was featured in the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). The Order of the Phoenix passes under it on their flight from number four, Privet Drive to Grimmauld Place.
In Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), Heath Ledger's character Tony is found hanging under the Blackfriars Bridge, described by Terry Gilliam as "an homage to Roberto Calvi".
In Cassandra Clare's book series The Infernal Devices , Tessa Gray and Jem Carstairs meet at the bridge every year from 1878 to 2008 except for 1941 as it was deemed too dangerous due to WWII. They also get married there.
In Rainbow Rowell's book Carry On , Baz gets kidnapped and is held under the bridge by a couple of mythical creatures known as numpties. He is later rescued by his aunt Fiona.
Roberto Calvi was an Italian banker, dubbed "God's Banker" by the press because of his close association with the Holy See. He was a native of Milan and was Chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in one of Italy's biggest political scandals.
South Bank is an entertainment and commercial district in central London, next to the River Thames opposite the City of Westminster. It forms a narrow strip of riverside land within the London Borough of Lambeth and the London Borough of Southwark,. As such, South Bank may be regarded as somewhat akin to the riverside part of an area known previously as Lambeth Marsh and North Lambeth.
Marble Arch is a 19th-century white marble-faced triumphal arch in London, England. The structure was designed by John Nash in 1827 to be the state entrance to the cour d'honneur of Buckingham Palace; it stood near the site of what is today the three-bayed, central projection of the palace containing the well-known balcony. In 1851, on the initiative of architect and urban planner Decimus Burton, a one-time pupil of John Nash, it was relocated to its current site. Following the widening of Park Lane in the early 1960s, the site became a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road, isolating the arch. Admiralty Arch, Holyhead in Wales is a similar arch, also cut off from public access, at the other end of the A5.
SouthwarkBridge is an arch bridge in London, for traffic linking the district of Southwark and the City across the River Thames. Besides when others are closed for temporary repairs, it has the least traffic of the Thames bridges in London.
Blackfriars, also known as London Blackfriars, is a central London railway station and connected London Underground station in the City of London. It provides Thameslink services: local, and regional and limited Southeastern commuter services to South East London and Kent. Its platforms span the River Thames, the only one in London to do so, along the length of Blackfriars Railway Bridge, a short distance downstream from Blackfriars Bridge. There are two station entrances either side of the Thames, along with a connection to the London Underground District and Circle lines.
Blackfriars Railway Bridge is a railway bridge crossing the River Thames in London, between Blackfriars Bridge and the Millennium Bridge.
Robert Mylne was a Scottish architect and civil engineer, particularly remembered for his design for Blackfriars Bridge in London. Born and raised in Edinburgh, he travelled to Europe as a young man, studying architecture in Rome under Piranesi. In 1758, he became the first Briton to win the triennial architecture competition at the Accademia di San Luca. This made his name known in London, and won him the rivalry of fellow Scot Robert Adam.
Chelsea Bridge is a bridge over the River Thames in west London, connecting Chelsea on the north bank to Battersea on the south bank, and split between the City of Westminster, the London Borough of Wandsworth and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. There have been two Chelsea Bridges, on the site of what was an ancient ford.
Blackfriars is in central London, specifically the south-west corner of the City of London.
The County of London Plan was prepared for the London County Council in 1943 by John Henry Forshaw (1895–1973) and Sir Leslie Patrick Abercrombie (1879–1957)
St George's Circus is a road junction in Southwark, London, England. At its centre, which is now a traffic roundabout, is an historic obelisk, designed by Robert Mylne (1733–1811), in his role as surveyor and architect of Blackfriars Bridge.
Blackfriars Road is a road in Southwark, SE1. It runs between St George's Circus at the southern end and Blackfriars Bridge over the River Thames at the northern end, leading to the City of London. Halfway up on the west side is Southwark Underground station, on the corner with The Cut. Opposite is Palestra, a large new office building which houses the Surface transport division of Transport for London, which was formerly the headquarters of the London Development Agency.
Southwark Street is a major street in Bankside in the London Borough of Southwark, in London England, just south of the River Thames. It runs between Blackfriars Road to the west and Borough High Street to the east. It also connects the access routes for London Bridge, Southwark Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge. At the eastern end to the north is Borough Market.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows a travelling theatre troupe whose leader, having made a bet with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations and present them with a choice between self-fulfilling enlightenment or gratifying ignorance.
Blackfriars Bridge in London, Ontario, Canada is a wrought iron bowstring arch through truss bridge, crossing the North Thames River. The bridge was constructed in 1875 and carries single-lane vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians from Blackfriars Street to Ridout Street North.
Borough Road was a mainline railway station in Southwark, south London, located on Borough Road, close to the location Borough Underground station.
Duke's Cut is a short waterway in Oxfordshire, England, which connects the Oxford Canal with the River Thames via the Wolvercote Mill Stream. It is named after George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, across whose land the waterway was cut. It is seen as a branch of the Oxford Canal.
Blackfriars Bridge is a stone arch bridge in Greater Manchester, England. Completed in 1820, it crosses the River Irwell, connecting Salford to Manchester.
The Royal Commission on London Traffic was a Royal commission established in 1903 with a remit to review and report on how transport systems should be developed for London and the surrounding area. It produced a report in eight volumes published in 1905 and made recommendations on the character, administration and routing of traffic in London.
The many difficulties encountered and innovations used in building the first Blackfriars Bridge 1759–69 are described in:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blackfriars Bridge .|