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London Bridges Past and Present

Hybrid Image: Lower pool with Tower Bridge under construction, l

Unknown photographer Lower Pool, with Tower Bridge under construction Glass lantern slide c. late 19th century © Museum of London

In recent weeks I have published a number of posts about London Bridges centred around the Bridge Exhibition in West India Quay.

As part of the promotion for the exhibition , the Museum of London took some of the photographs from the exhibition and added the modern view.

These then and now hybrid photographs are very popular at the moment, so I thought I would share some of the best ones.

What is perhaps most noticeable is that in the older photographs , that the Thames was a working river filled with ships and with cranes and warehouses dominating the riverfronts.

The modern photographs seem more dominated by the large buildings that have multiplied in the City in the last few years.

Hybrid Image: A windy evening on London Bridge, 1937, by Henry T

Henry Turner (active 1930s) A Windy Evening on London Bridge c. 1937 From Wordsworth to T S Eliot, the crowds streaming across London Bridge have always attracted attention. Turner was a photographer and General Secretary of the Empire Press Union (later Commonwealth Press Union). He made this image for E Arnot  Robertson’s book Thames Portrait (1937).© Henry Turner/Museum of London

Hybrid Image: Charing Cross Railway Bridge, late 19th century

Unknown photographer Charing Cross Railway Bridge Glass lantern slide c. late 19th century Taken from South Bank. © Museum of London

Hybrid Image: Tower Bridge framing the dome of St Paul's Cathedr

Albert Gravely Linney Tower Bridge framing the Dome of St Paul’s Cathedral c. 1930  Taken from the river, looking west. © Albert Gravely Linney/Museum of London

Hybrid Image: Southwark Bridge, 1935, by Henry Turner

Henry Turner (active 1930s) Southwark Bridge  c. 1935 © Henry Turner/Museum of London

Hybrid Image: Beginning the demolition of Old Waterloo Bridge, 1

Albert Gravely Linney  Beginning the Demolition of Old Waterloo Bridge c. 1934  Taken from Hungerford Bridge. © Albert Gravely Linney/Museum of London

Hybrid Image: Looking north across London Bridge, 1920s, by Geor

George Davison Reid (1871–1933) Looking north across London Bridge ) c. 1920s Taken from inside on the 5th floor of No1 London Bridge.  © George Davison Reid/Museum of London

Hybrid Image: Waterloo Bridge from Embankment, 1903-10, by Chris

Christina Broom (1863–1939) Waterloo Bridge from the Embankment c. 1903–10 Taken from the North Bank of the Thames. © Christina Broom/Museum of London

 Museum of London Docklands – Bridge exhibition

27 June – 2 November 2014,

FREE exhibition,

For more information visit  the Museum of London Docklands website here

The Bridge Exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands 27 June – 2 November 2014


Hungerford Bridge c.1845. Photograph by William Henry Fox Talbot, Museum of London

Starting on the 27th June is an exciting new exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands entitled Bridge.

Last week there was an announcement that one of its highlights will be an extremely rare photograph of Old Hungerford Bridge taken by the photography pioneer, William Henry Fox Talbot in 1845.

Brunel’s Hungerford Bridge  was at 1,462 feet long,  one of the longest suspension bridges built at the time. However Londoners did not have long to admire his handiwork because Brunel’s bridge was demolished within fifteen years to make way for a railway crossing.

It is the oldest photograph in the considerable Museum of London collection and will only be displayed under certain conditions due to its fragile nature.

Fox Talbot only began to perfect his process in 1845 and this delicate salt print has been considered too historically valuable to risk showing on  public display before.

The Museum are taking no chances  and have issued the following

Early photographs are extremely fragile. For conservation reasons this photograph will be displayed in strictly controlled lighting conditions, where visitors will be invited to press a button to illuminate it to minimise unnecessary exposure to light.

 It will be on public display for one month only.

Other than the Fox Talbot photograph, there are a large number of other photographs on display both  contemporary and historical artworks.

Like the Fox Talbot photograph, some chart some of the London Bridges creation and demolition.

2012.28/1428 - Bridges: Demolition begins on the old Waterloo Br

Old Waterloo Bridge under demolition Gelatin silver print, made 1936  © Albert Gravely Linney/Museum of London

IN257 - Lower Pool, with Tower Bridge under construction- Magic

Lower Pool, with Tower Bridge under construction © Museum of London

Construction site to the west of Waterloo Bridge: 1866-1870- IN3

Henry Flather (1839-1901) The Construction of the Metropolitan District Railway Albumen print, made around 1868 Waterloo Bridge appears stranded in Flather’s extraordinary photograph, almost as if it has been thrown up during the excavations. The photograph was taken from a point west of the bridge, at the foot of Savoy Street, during the construction of the Metropolitan District Railway and Victoria Embankment. This is one of 64 photographs taken in the late 1860s by Flather to document the project. This photograph will be displayed behind a screen to protect it from unnecessary exposure to light, which could damage it.  © Henry Flather/Museum of London


Looking southwest from Lower Custom House Stairs. Photograph by George Davison Reid. 1920-1933. Museum of London

If these are the calibre of photographs at the exhibition, it will definitely be one not to miss.

Bridge at the Museum of London Docklands will features paintings, prints, drawings, etchings, photography and film. The exhibition opens at the Museum of London Docklands on Friday 27 June 2014. Entrance is FREE.