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Photographer's Note

Putney Bridge is a bridge crossing of the River Thames in west London, linking Putney on the south side with Fulham to the north. The bridge has medieval parish churches at each end. In its first guise, from 1729 to 1886 it was in a different position on its north side and in many official records was also known as Fulham Bridge.

One story runs that "in 1720 Sir Robert Walpole (the following year considered the first Prime Minister) was returning from seeing George I at Kingston on Thames and being in a hurry to get to the House of Commons rode together with his servant to Putney to take the ferry across to Fulham. The ferry boat was on the opposite side, however and the waterman, who was drinking in the Swan, ignored the calls of Sir Robert and his servant and they were obliged to take another route." Walpole vowed that a bridge would replace the ferry.

The then Prince of Wales equally "was often inconvenienced by the ferry when returning from hunting in Richmond Park and asked Walpole to use his influence by supporting the bridge."

The legal framework for construction of a bridge was approved 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 had tollbooths at either end of the timber-built structure.

In October 1795, Mary Wollstonecraft, philosopher and early women's equality advocate, allegedly planned to commit suicide by jumping from the bridge, because she had returned from a trip to Sweden to discover that her lover was involved with an actress from London.

The bridge has been the starting point for The Boat Race since 1845 when the course was revised. The competitors are currently 32 men of Oxford and University of Cambridge (two crews of first and second eights) however women's eights will compete this for the first time in 2015, having since 1927 competed a shorter varsity race in Henley also in the early spring.

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 was replaced by the stone bridge

The north side of the bridge is 120m WSW of Putney Bridge tube station which is in the park-sandwiched Hurlingham neighbourhood of Fulham. Parkland to the west includes the gardens of Fulham Palace, historic home of the Bishops of London. The south side of the bridge has next to its church, a rounded glass-prowed ship-shaped 21st century building, Putney Wharf Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Putney.

The current format is three lanes southbound (including one bus lane) and one lane (including cycle lane/bus stop) northbound. Putney High Street, a main approach is the main axis of a very commercial district centre.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 819 W: 1 N: 2616] (11512)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2014-05-03
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Exposure: f/8, 1/320 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-05-06 2:43
Viewed: 295
Points: 8
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Additional Photos by Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 819 W: 1 N: 2616] (11512)
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