Putney Bridge

Bridge, existing between 1729 and now

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Bridge · The Underground Map · SW15 ·
November
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2017

Putney Bridge is a bridge crossing of the River Thames in west London, linking Putney on the south side with Fulham to the north.

Putney Bridge, 1793, by J. Farington. This view shows a squared-rigged 'West Country' barge, fishermen netting for salmon and erosion of the riverbank.
Credit: J. Farington
Construction of a bridge was first sanctioned by an Act of Parliament in 1726. Built by local master carpenter Thomas Phillips to a design by architect Sir Jacob Acworth, the first bridge was opened in November 1729, to become the only bridge between London Bridge and Kingston Bridge at the time. A toll bridge, it featured tollbooths at either end of the timber-built structure.

In October 1795, Mary Wollstonecraft allegedly planned to commit suicide by jumping from the bridge because she returned from a trip to Sweden to discover that her lover was involved with an actress from London.

In 1845, the bridge was specified as the starting point of a changed course for the annual Oxford - Cambridge University Boat Race.

The bridge was badly damaged by the collision of a river barge in 1870.

Although part of the bridge was subsequently replaced, soon the entire bridge would be demolished and in 1886 it was replaced by the stone bridge that stands today.

The current bridge was designed by civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette as a five-span structure, built of stone and Cornish granite. (Joseph Bazalgette also designed London's sewerage system, and the Putney Bridge forms part of this system.) It was constructed by John Waddell of Edinburgh, whose tender of £240,433 was accepted on 15 April 1882. It is 210 metres long and 13 metres wide, and was opened by the Prince (later King Edward VII) and Princess of Wales on 29 May 1886.

The stone marking the downstream end of the Championship Course still used by the Boat Race, Wingfield Sculls and several major head races is now just upstream of the current bridge, but the bridge is still often incorrectly said to be the start of the Boat Race course.

In March 1953, British serial killer John Christie was finally arrested on Putney Bridge.

Putney Bridge is the only bridge in Britain to have a church at both ends: St. Mary's Church, Putney is located on the south bank and All Saints Church, Fulham on the north bank.

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Putney Bridge, 1793, by J. Farington. This view shows a squared-rigged 'West Country' barge, fishermen netting for salmon and erosion of the riverbank.
J. Farington


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Putney (1745) FREE DOWNLOAD
An exact Survey of the City's of London Westminster, ye Borough of Southwark and the country near ten miles round; begun in 1741 and ended in 1745, by J. Rocque; and engrav'd by R. Parr, 1746.
J. Rocque and R. Parr

Central London, south west (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, south west.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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