The Ladies’ Bridge

To my mind Waterloo Bridge is one of the most overlooked bridges on the Thames. It’s design has been criticised, but I think it’s sleek arches are rather pleasing.

The current Waterloo Bridge

The current bridge is the second incarnation, the first opened in 1817, but by the end of the 19th century it was showing signs of subsidence and general decay. By the 1920’s five of the piers were in very poor condition and the bridge had to be closed for reinforcement to be put in place and a temporary steel framework was built on top of the existing bridge and then placed next to it for the use of southbound vehicles.

In the 1930s London County Council decided to demolish the bridge and replace it with a new structure designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, he of the icon red telephone box.

Work began in the late 1930s but with the advent of the Second World War labour was at a premium. This is where the nickname “Ladies’ Bridge” comes from as it is calculated that around 65% of the workforce used to complete the bridge were female.

There’s a short piece about it on YouTube.

Published by endean0

Hi, I'm Steve, a London tour guide and owner of A London Miscellany Tours, a guided walking tour company who specialise in small number tours of the greatest city in the world!

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