Travel Theme; Bridges – Walton Bridge

A new bridge is being built over the River Thames, near where I live in Walton. This will be the first new road bridge over the Thames in 20 years

History of Walton Bridge (from the Surrey County Council Website)

There was a ferry at Walton from the 15th century until 1750 when the first bridge was built. There is a record of a petition to Charles 2nd by Sir William Boreman asking for a patent for a public ferry at Walton to carry “horse, cart or coach”.

The ferries were considered unreliable and dangerous, and the ferrymen themselves were thought of as an unsavoury bunch who would cheat and even rob their passengers, so it is not surprising that eventually a bridge was built.

There have been five Walton Bridges so far. You may click on the links below to find out more about each of the bridges.

  • c1400 to 1750– Ferry
  • 1750 to 1783 – The First Bridge– Wooden lattice 3 arch structure on stone piers

Old Walton Bridge Over the Thames by Canaletto (1754)

  • 1783 to 1788– Ferry
  • 1788 to 1859 – The Second Bridge– Brick and stone arch structure
    • Architectural watercolour of Walton Bridge designed by James Paine, 1784

      Architectural watercolour of Walton Bridge designed by James Paine, 1784

      The bridge lasted for 73 years when in August 1859 the two centre arches fell into the River. The collapse was thought to be due to settlement of the central support pier.

      The bridge lasted for 73 years when in August 1859 the two centre arches fell into the River. The collapse was thought to be due to settlement of the central support pier.

      • 1859 to 1864– Ferry
      • 1864 to 1985 – The Third Bridge– Lattice girder bridge on brick and stone pier

       

This bridge was an iron lattice girder structure on brick and stone piers designed by E T Murray


This bridge was an iron lattice girder structure on brick and stone piers designed by E T Murray

Construction included a brick arch viaduct on the Walton side across the flood plain. This structure is still standing today on the Walton approach to the bridge.

Construction included a brick arch viaduct on the Walton side across the flood plain. This structure is still standing today on the Walton approach to the bridge.

  • 1953 to date – The Fourth Bridge– This bridge is used by pedestrians and cyclists

The fourth bridge was built by Middlesex County Council in 1953 immediately alongside the Old Walton Bridge. It is a proprietary ‘Callender Hamilton’ bridge, intended to be put up quickly as a temporary measure

The fourth bridge

The fourth bridge

  • 1999 to date – The Fifth Bridge – This bridge is currently used by vehicles
When the Callender-Hamilton bridge was inspected in 1998, it was clear that the bridge had very little life left in it, even after the repairs that were carried out. The delays in achieving a new permanent bridge meant that the Callender-Hamilton bridge had deteriorated to a point where it was impractical to repair it any more. Plans were therefore drawn up to urgently construct a new temporary (fifth) bridge so that the crossing would remain open.

When the Callender-Hamilton bridge was inspected in 1998, it was clear that the bridge had very little life left in it, even after the repairs that were carried out.  Plans were therefore drawn up to urgently construct a new temporary (fifth) bridge so that the crossing would remain open.

This ‘temporary bridge is now 15 years old, and long overdue replacement!  On 29 December 2010 the Government announced full funding approval for the scheme, and the advance works for the project commenced on 31 January 2011 with the main construction work following on in January 2012.

Plan

I have been watching the construction of the new bridge with great interest, and taking photographs whenever the light has been good.  I am not alone in my interest, there are many of us who watch it’s construction with interest, and can be found along the banks of the Thames watching the cranes at work, especially on a sunny day.  There is even a Webcam where you can watch the progress live!  My parents can check our weather by clicking on the webcam, even though they live in Ireland.  The first thing they did the last time they came over to visit us was go & visit the new bridge!

My dad (left) with another construction fan, discussing the new bridge

My dad (left) with another construction fan, discussing the new bridge

My Mum, Sister & the girls have had enough of waiting for my dad & head off for coffee!

My Mum, Sister & the girls have had enough of waiting for my dad & head off for coffee!

All the arches are in place

All the arches are in place

I will post more photos of the bridge as it nears completion šŸ™‚

More websites with information about the bridge & paintings of previous bridges

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Elmbridge e-Museum

Motco

Queens College Cambridge

Tate Gallery

To find out more about this weeks Travel Theme, hop over to ‘Where’s My Backpack?

This week’s Travel Theme is Bridges

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About Barbara

Born in Dublin, living in London with Peter, my two daughters, Wilson our Spaniel & Woordow our Malshih (Shih Tzu-Maltese cross)
This entry was posted in Bridges, Families, London, Photography, Walton-On-Thames and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Travel Theme; Bridges – Walton Bridge

  1. Grannymar says:

    We take bridges for granted. It is great to discover the background history to this one.

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  2. Grannymar says:

    Thanks! I will watch for Wilson having a swim! šŸ˜‰

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    • Barbara says:

      It will be a while before he swims at that part…. The river is flowing high at the moment, and the current is strong there so we don’t let him in there….. Though he would love to go in!!

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  3. Pingback: Travel Theme; Bridges – Zuari Bridge, Goa, India | Day One

  4. Didn’t even knew.

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  5. Al says:

    Great article. That bridge has some pretty neat historical credentials. Especially liked the chronology part. As a lover of history, I tend to follow blogs where the writer throws in history of the family or local area. Of course, you have the advantage of going back much further than we do over here!

    Glad to have found your blog and thanks again for visiting mine.

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    • Barbara says:

      Thank you. The layout is not formatting properly which is driving me a bit batty….there’s a bullet point for the 4th bridge in the middle of the third ones pictures…. oh the joys of WordPress.

      There are some amazing photos of the bridges through the ages on the other websites that I linked to too. I had to stop myself posting them all šŸ™‚ We have a personal interest in this new bridge as we remember driving over the 3rd bridge, and then thinking things would be better when the 4th bridge was built, and quickly realising that the aren’t any better, so really hope this long overdue new (not temporary) bridge will help fix some of the bottleneck problems associated with crossing the Thames.

      This is about a mile from our house, so if you’re ever interested in our weather, just click on the webcam

      Good to have found your blog too, love your sense of humour. Your discovery of the joys of blogging must be such a relief to your long suffering wife! šŸ™‚

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  6. El Guapo says:

    Wonderful history lesson on the bridge!
    One of my favorites is the Brooklyn Bridge. NYC Transportation syas that bridge gives them the least trouble of any in the system.

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