Lambeth Bridge – Thames Tour, Bradshaw’s Handbook, no.114

There was an obvious need to cross the Thames from Westminster Palace to Lambeth Palace and this was done by ferry. There were ferries for pedestrians, and ferries for horses and carriages, and it was a lucrative trade for the Watermen, who unsurprisingly opposed the building of a bridge in this area.

The old Horseferry, c.1800 (www.british-history.ac.uk)
People & their cart waiting for the Horse Ferry, c.1800 (www.british-history.ac.uk)

The Horse Ferry at Lambeth (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol23/plate-64)
The Horse Ferry at Lambeth (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol23/plate-64)

Westminster Bridge was built in 1739-50, and then Lambeth Bridge no.1 opened in 1862 as a toll-bridge, just after Mr Bradshaw was guiding visitors around London. However, the bridge was steep and difficult for horse-drawn vehicles. In 1879 the toll was lifted, but the bridge was deteriorating, increasingly only used as a footbridge and closed to vehicle traffic from 1910.

Lambeth Bridge c.1900 (http://www.vauxhallcivicsociety.org.uk/history/lambeth-bridge/)
Lambeth Bridge c.1900 (http://www.vauxhallcivicsociety.org.uk/history/lambeth-bridge/)
Lambeth Bridge no.1 (http://tradescant.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/lambeth-bridge-is-150-years-old-today.html)
Lambeth Bridge no.1 (http://tradescant.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/lambeth-bridge-is-150-years-old-today.html)

Lambeth Bridge no.2 was opened in July 1932 by King George V.

Lambeth Bridge from the Houses of Parliament
Lambeth Bridge from the Houses of Parliament
Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge

The bridge is still steep, as you can see from the disappearing cars!

Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge

The obelisks at either end of the bridge are topped with pine cones, or pineapples. One suggestion is that they commemorate John Tradescant who is buried in St Mary’s Church, Lambeth, and his family – it is thought his son was the first to cultivate pineapples in England.

The Obelisks on Lambeth Bridge
The Obelisks on Lambeth Bridge

Lambeth Bridge is painted red, like the benches in the House of Lords.

Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge

And alongside the bridge, on the Surrey side, is a reminder of the docks and wharves which used to operate here, and where the ferries perhaps landed.

The embankment at Lambeth Bridge
The embankment at Lambeth Bridge

You may be interested in
The Old Horseferry
Lambeth Bridge and the Horseferry
Old map & engravings showing Horse Ferry – this is an amazing post – do read!

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