Tower Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge
Sunday, 28 May 2017
We started our walk this morning with a tube ride from Hammersmith, where we were staying, to Tower Hill, which was where we ended yesterdays walk. We walked along Lower Thames street until we reached London Bridge and then down towards the riverside until we picked up the path along the north bank and then walked on towards Southwark Bridge.
At Southwark Bridge, we walked through the pedestrian underpass, Fruiterers Passage which is named after the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, who had a warehouse on the bank above. We continued on to Queenhithe Dock and then up, briefly, into Upper Thames Street before returning via Broken Wharf and then under the Millennium Bridge.
The Millennium Bridge was the first new bridge to be built over the Thames for more than 100 years and was the first not to require an Act of Parliament to be passed. It is quite often referred to as the Wobbly Bridge because, initially, it suffered from Synchronous Lateral Excitation when the large numbers of people crossed it at the same time. This problem was later fixed with dampeners.
Just beyond the Millennium Bridge, we saw the second of the three Polar Sundials that were designed by Piers Nicholson for the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers who wanted to give a present to the City of London to mark the Millennium.
We continued to Blackfriars Bridge and on to Victoria Embankment passing the OXO Tower on the South Bank and Temple Gardens on the North. We have walked both sides of the river here several times in the past but we always felt that the views of the South Bank from the North Bank are better although the South Bank is probably the better side to walk on also!
We continued on passing Somerset House and Waterloo Bridge and then Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridge before arriving at the mooring of the PS Tattershall Castle.
The Tattershall Castle is a steamer was built by William Gray & Company in 1934 as one of three passenger ferries on the Humber for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) and with the eventual opening of the Humber Bridge, the Tattershall Castle became redundant along with her sister ships. The Tattershall Castle was towed to London in 1976 and has served as an Art Gallery and now a floating pub.
At Westminster Bridge, we crossed over to the South side of the river stopping to watch the DUCKS and then passed Lambeth Palace and Lambeth Bridge on our way to Vauxhall Bridge. It is here that the DUCKS launch into the River Thames. Right next to the MI6 building.
From Vauxhall, the path became a little more difficult. Once we had passed the New Covent Garden Market we were confronted with building works everywhere. Partly for the new American Embassy and partly because of the development of the Battersea Power Station site. In between, there were random tower blocks being built. The path diversions in this area were many and difficult to follow.
Built as a toll bridge, the Albert Bridge was commercially unsuccessful and was taken into public ownership after only 6 years. The tolls were scrapped but the tollbooths remained in place and are the only surviving examples of bridge tollbooths in London.
Like the Millenium Bridge, the Albert Bridge was also given a Nickname because of its tendency to vibrate when large numbers of people walked over it which explains why the bridge has signs at each end warning troops to break step whilst crossing the bridge.
Bizarrely for a bridge called Albert, the Nickname was “The Trembling Lady”
Just after the Albert Bridge is the Battersea Bridge and views towards Chelsea Creek and the Lots Road Power Station. I had never heard of this power station but it was apparently another power station that supplied power to the London Underground and was eventually shut down in 2002 after 97 years of use.
By now we were getting hungry and needed a rest. We quickly googled the nearest Wetherspoons and found it to be the Asparagus on the A3205 so we made our way there, passing the Sambrook’s Brewery as we did so.
After lunch, we re-joined the Thames Path just before Wandsworth Bridge and continued along the Wandsworth riverside and Wandsworth Park before having to divert down a street of houses to get to Putney Bridge.
Up until now, the weather had been perfect. Sunny but not to warm. But from Putney Bridge onwards we had some drizzle and cloud.
We followed the Putney Embankment admiring the various boathouses and the rowers out on the river. At the end of the embankment, the path changes. It becomes a more leafy, green track closed in by trees and bushes.
There is the occasional glance over to Craven Cottage but the views of the river but the left-hand side is obscured by trees and fences and the built-up embankments of the London Wetland Centre.
The first Hammersmith Bridge was the first suspension bridge over the River Thames and was replaced by the current bridge in 1887 and at high tide, the ‘new’ bridge has just 12 feet of clearance. Before long the Hammersmith Bridge was in view and our walk was at an end.
The Hammersmith Bridge is also the weakest bridge on the River Thames and has weight restrictions that mean only one bus at a time can cross it. This is controlled by barriers at each end.
Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral
London Eye and PS Tattershall Castle
DUCKS on the Thames
Battersea Power Station from Vauxhall Bridge
Vauxhall Bridge and the MI6 Building.
The London Peace Pagoda
The Albert Bridge
Lots Road Power Station
Distance : 9 Miles