Hammersmith Bridge

17 Feb

P1040354Not living in Barnes (why else would anyone visit it?), I have precious little reason to cross this rather fine bridge. Designed by Joseph Bazalgette, it was built between 1883 and 1887, replacing an earlier structure, the foundations of which it rests on. As a vehicle crossing, it’s not up to much; a friend of mine from Notting Hill who went to primary school on the Barnes side grew up chanting the nursery rhyme London Bridge with a slightly altered lyric:

Hammersmith Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down

Despite its severe weight restrictions, the bridge was a primary target for the German invasion plan of 1940. Given that it can barely support off-peak traffic, I wonder how it would have coped with a regiment of Panzers rolling over it…

Thankfully, we will never know. For any reader who has ever watched Jules Dassin’s fantastic noir Night and the City, however, Hammersmith Bridge will have sinister connotations for different reasons entirely; the parapet in this photo is where the protagonist, expat lowlife Harry Fabian, meets his end at the hands of burly Maltese gangsters. It’s a bleak conclusion to an unrelentingly crepuscular film- but don’t let that put you off…



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