diamond geezer

 Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Reviewing the Fleet
Blackfriars Bridge

The first Blackfriars Bridge was opened in 1769, at about the same time that the lowest reach of the Fleet was covered over and renamed New Bridge Street. This nine-arch span made of Portland stone survived exactly 100 years before being replaced by the present wrought iron structure. [photo] Busy old Queen Victoria spent 6th November 1869 opening first Holborn Viaduct and then popping down Farringdon Street to open the new Blackfriars Bridge. A statue was erected in her honour on the north side of the bridge a few years later. Four equestrian sculptures were also planned, one to stand in each recess above the piers of the bridge, but they never materialised. The bridge has since been widened and is now the busiest of all the road bridges leading south from the City (although it's bloody dangerous on a bike). The view upstream is impressive, taking in the OXO Tower, Eye and Embankment, but the view downstream is blocked by a less than glamorous railway bridge. Two parallel railway bridges were built here in the late 19th century, but the westernmost bridge proved too weak for modern trains and was part-demolished in 1969. You can still see its peach-painted supporting pillars sticking up out of the Thames today, beheaded by progress, although they may be reused if the Thameslink 2000 project is ever resuscitated. [photo]

www.flickr.com: Fleet lower - Holborn to Blackfriars
(there are 50 photos in this bumper bonus selection)

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