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1274: Franciscan Black Friars had their monastery north of the bridge site.
 
1610: Camden -

The other Fort [ matching the Tower of London ] was on the West side of the Citie, where Fleete, a little riveret (whence Fleete streete tooke name), now of no account but in times past able to beare vesselles, as I have read in the parliament Rolls, sheddeth it selfe into the Tamis.
Fitz-Stephen called this the Palatine tower or castle, and they were that in the reigne of William the Conquerour it was consumed by fire. Out of the ruins whereof both a great part of Paules Church was newly built, and also in the very plot of ground where it stood Robert Kilwarby Archbishop of Canterbury founded a religious house for Dominican Freers (whereupon we call the place Blacke Freers). Whereby a man might easily guesse of what bignesse it was.
Howbeit there stood in that place in the daies of King Henrie the Second (Gervase of Tilburie in his book entituled Otia Imperialia is mine author) two forts or castles built with wals and rampiers, the one whereof belonged to Bainard, the other to the Barons of Montfichet by right of succession. But nothing remaineth of them at this day. Yet some thinke that Pembroch House was a peece of them, which we terme Bainards Castle of William Bainard, a noble man, Lord of Dunmow, whose possession sometime it was, whose successours the Fitz-walters were in right of inheritance the Ensigne bearers of the Citie of London, and amongst them Robert Fitz-walter had licence of King Edward the First to sell the site of Bainards Castle to the said Archbishop Robert.

"The Thames OR Graphic illustrations of Seats, Villas, Public Buildings, and Picturesque Scenery" by William Bernard Cooke, 1811 -

Blackfriar's Bridge was erected after a design of Mr. Mylne; and the first pile was driven in the midst of the river on the seventh of June, 1760.
The first stone was laid with great ceremony by the lord mayor, who attended with the aldermen, sheriffs, and city officers, in great state, on the thirty-first of October in the same year.
Beneath the stone the several British current coins were placed, and a plate with the following inscription:-

On the last day of October, in the year 1760,
And in the beginning of the most auspicious reign of GEORGE the Third,
Sir THOMAS CHITTY, Knight, Lord Mayor,
Laid the first stone of this Bridge,
Undertaken by the Common Council of London,
In the height of an extensive war,
For the public accommodation
And ornament of the City;
ROBERT MYLNE being the architect:

And that there may remain to posterity
A monument of this city's affection to the man,
Who, by the strength of his genius,
The steadiness of his mind,
And a kind of happy contagion of his probity and Spirit,
Under the Divine favour
And fortunate auspices of GEORGE the Second,
Recovered, augmented, and secured
The British Empire,
In Asia, Africa, and America,
And restored the ancient reputation
And influence of the country
Amongst the nations of Europe,
The Citizens of London have unanimously voted this
Bridge to be inscribed with the name of
WILLIAM PITT.

This bridge, which was completed in the year 1769, is a very convenient and noble structure: it is of stone, and consists of nine arches, which being elliptical, the apertures for navigation are expansive. Its dimensions are as follows:

Length of the bridge, from wharf to wharf995 feet
Width of the central arch100 feet
Width of the arches on each side
reckoning from the central ones
towards the shores
98 feet
93 feet
85 feet
70 feet
Width of the carriage-way28 feet
Width of the raised foot-ways on each side7 feet
Height of the balustrade4 - 10 feet

Over each pier of the bridge is a recess or balcony, supported below by two Ionic pillars and pilasters, which stand on a semicircular projection of the pier above high-water, and have niches between them. It spreads open at the extremities, by which means an agreeable as well as useful, access is formed to it.

During the time employed in erecting this bridge, a temporary one of wood was laid over the river for the accommodation of passengers, as well as for the sake of the toll, by which a considerable sum was raised while the work was carrying on, and a large accumulation of debt prevented. In short, this and subsequent tolls enabled the commissioners to pay the whole expense of building this bridge in less than twenty years after it was finished, although less than half what they were allowed to take by act of parliament.


1764:  First Blackfriars’ Bridge under construction –

Blackfriars Bridge 1764
Blackfriars’ Bridge 1764

Blackfriar's Bridge being built


Blackfriars Bridge, from Illustration of public buildings of London

Blackfriars Bridge
Blackfriars’ Bridge

1777:  'Blackfriers' Bridge from a picture in the possession of David Garrick Esqr. –

Blackfriars Bridge 1777
Blackfriers Bridge from a picture in the possession of David Garrick Esqr. 1777

1780: During the Gordon riots a crowd destroyed the tollgates and stole the money.  Several rioters were killed.
 
1797: Blackfriars’ Bridge -

Blackfriars Bridge © MOTCO
Black Friars Bridge. Jan. 18th 1797. From the West.

1802: Picturesque View on the Thames, Samuel Ireland -

THE noble addition of Blackfriars bridge to the river Thames, whether considered as an ornament, or an object of convenience to our capital, cannot but yield the highest gratification to the mind of every well-wisher to the interest of this island, as well as the citizen of this great emporium of the universe.

THE spacious and numerous public roads which the communication with the borough of Southwark, and the counties of Kent, Surrey, &c. have opened since the erection of this bridge, evince at once the judicious choice of situation for such a structure.

IN Febuary 1754, the city determined on building a bridge on this spot, and in January, 1756, a petition was presented to Parliament, in confequence of which an act passed, empowering the Mayor, &c. to procure a loan of one hundred an sixty thousand pounds, the sum required to complete this undertaking; the interest was to be paid out of the tolls granted by the act.

Amongst the many designs proposed for a bridge that of Mr. Robert Milnes was approved, and the firft stone laid on the 30th of October, 1760, by the then Lord Mayor. It was completed in the latter end of the year 1768, at the expence of one hundred and fifty-two thousand eight hundred and forty pounds, three shillings and ten-pence.

THE length of this bridge is nine hundred and ninety-five feet, the breadth of the carriage- way twenty-eight, and of the two footpaths seven feet each. It consists of nine eliptical arches, the center of which is one hundred feet wide. The eliptical form, as it gives more space, is well adapted to aid the navigation, though the circular is generally allowed to be superior in strength. The upper surface of this bridge forms, in the opinion of many, too large a portion of a circle, a fault generally imputed by foreigners, and perhaps with justice, to most of our buildings of this kind. The design of this bridge must be allowed to have an ample share of elegance. The Ionic pillars projecting from the piers give a happy relief to the whole, and appear singularly light and beautiful from the river. It were to be wished that the materials for this work had been selected of a more durable quality, as it might then have shewn to posterity the merits of its architect: who stands a fair chance at present of outliving his own work.

At the building of this bridge the city was authorised to fill up the channel of Bridewell dock, that:

King of dykes, than which no sluice of mud
With deeper sable blots the silver flood.

Blackfriars' Bridge, Ireland, 1802
Blackfriars' Bridge, Ireland, 1802

1836: Blackfriars’ Bridge, Tombleson -

Blackfriars' Bridge, Tombleson, 1836
Blackfriars' Bridge, Tombleson, 1836

1842: Blackfriars' Bridge from upstream -

Blackfriars’ from Waterloo Bridge, William Parrott © MOTCO
Blackfriars’ from Waterloo Bridge, William Parrott - London from the Thames (1842)

1842: Blackfriars' Bridge from downstream -

Blackfriars’ from Southwark Bridge, Thomas Shotter Boys © MOTCO
Blackfriars’ from Southwark Bridge, Thomas Shotter Boys - London as it is (1842)

Sailing barges loaded with straw are in the foreground while to the right the afternoon sun gleams on the white stone of St Paul's Cathedral and also catches the towers of St Mary Somerset and St Michael, Queenhithe leaving a further cluster of Wren church towers in the shadow. The gleaming Thames stretches beyond the arches of Blackfriars Bridge towards the distant buildings bordering on the Strand.

1856: The removal of the old London Bridge changed the tidal currents around Blackfriars Bridge (and placed several other bridges in peril). A survey showed that the increased currents had scoured away a considerable amount of sediment -

1856: 1823 London Bridge tidal scour
1856: The changes to the river above the 1823 London Bridge

1860: First Blackfriars Bridge demolished. A design for a new bridge by Page, who designed Westminster Bridge, was originally chosen, but William Cubitt's design was eventually preferred.
 
1865: Cruchley's London (1865) : A Handbook for Strangers -

BLACKFRIARS TEMPORARY BRIDGE. for the maintenance of traffic during the building of the new bridge, is open to the public, and is well worth a visit. It consists of a timber viaduct, with three openings for the river navigation, each 70 ft. clear in the span, and supported by iron girders. The roadway for vehicles is carried along the top part of the bridge. The footway is divided for a to-and-fro stream of passengers ; and there are three intersecting paths for crossing from one to the other. Gas mains, pipes, and lamps are provided for both the ways.
The temporary bridge appears on the London Map of 1868 by Edward Weller

1868: Blackfriars' Bridge under construction -

Blackfriars’ under construction 1868
Blackfriars’ Bridge under construction, 1868

1869: Current Blackfriars Bridge replaced Robert Mylne’s elegant stone bridge of 1769. 963 feet long, 105 feet wide Five wrought-iron spans rest on massive river-piers ornamented with red polished-granite columns. The capitals of the columns are carved with interlaced birds and plants, and support pedestrian refuges. Engineer: Joseph Cubitt. Contractor: Messrs P.A. Thom & Co.
Opened in 1869 by Queen Victoria who drove over it.  The supporting granite piers are decorated with birds and flowers to honour St Francis, upstream are plants and fresh-water birds and downstream are marine plants and sea-birds.  The bridge was opened on the same day as Holborn Viaduct and a Commemorative Medallion was struck showing both: -

Blackfriars Bridge Medallion 1869
Commemorative Medallion: above - Holborn Viaduct; below - Blackfriars’ Bridge.

So here is something that puzzled me at first - in both the following pictures the road bridge appears to be east of the railway bridge! The answer is that the Blackfriars' Station shown was actually south of the river. It was built on the site of Albion Mill. This is clearly seen on the London Map of 1868 by Edward Weller


Blackfriars Bridge Opening? and Railway Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge Opening in 1869, and Railway Bridge

It is interesting that the tented seating along the bridge has been placed so as to conceal the railway bridge from the spectators and no doubt Queen Victoria. (See Dickens below).
The Railway bridge is a much cruder structure than in the next picture.

Blackfriars Bridge and Railway Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge and Railway Bridge

1875: Blackfriars Bridge, Henry Taunt -

Blackfriars Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1875
Blackfriars Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1875
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT1537

1880: Blackfriars Bridge with Blackfriars Railway Bridge behind it, Francis Frith -

Blackfriars Bridge, Frith 1880
Blackfriars Bridge with Blackfriars Railway Bridge behind it, Francis Frith, c1880

1885: Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames:

Blackfriars Bridge is one of the handsomest in London, and would have a still better effect were not its appearance so seriously marred by the proximity of its neighbour, the Alexandra (London Chatham & Dover Railway) bridge. [Blackfriars Railway Bridge] ...
It crosses the river in five spans, the centre span being 185 feet. The piers are of granite, surmounted by recesses resting on short pillars of polished red Aberdeen granite, and with ornamental stone parapets. The parapet of the bridge itself is very low, which, with the extreme shortness of the ornamental pillars at the pier ends, gives the whole structure rather a dwarfed and stunted look; but the general outline is bold and the ensemble rich, if perhaps a trifle gaudy, especially when the gilding, of which there is an unusual proportion, has been freshly renewed.

1897: Blackfriars Bridge, James Dredge -

Blackfriars Bridge, James Dredge, 1897
Blackfriars Bridge, James Dredge, 1897
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D230155a

1909: Blackfriars Bridge widened from 75 feet to 105 feet.

1914? Blackfriars Bridge -

Blackfriars Bridge in 1914?
Blackfriars Bridge in 1914?

1962:  The Blackfriars Barge was found in 1962 during construction of an underpass. It was a keelless, flat-bottomed carvel-built barge 55' long.  It had a cargo of Kentish Ragstone for building the City Wall.  Pottery and coins enabled it to be dated to the late 2nd century.

Blackfriars Bridge © 2000 Doug Myers
Blackfriars’ Bridge © 2000 Doug Myers

Blackfriars Bridge PLA
Blackfriars’ Bridge going upstream

Blackfriars Millenium Pier, left bank just above Blackfriars Bridge

 

Victoria Embankment, left bank

 

Somerset House, left bank

1855: The Misers Daughter by William Harrison Ainsworth -

The Folly on the Thames, whither Beau Villiers and his party were steering their course, was a large floating house of entertainment, moored in the centre of the stream, immediately opposite Old Somerset House.

It was constructed in the latter part of the reign of Charles the Second; and thither the merry monarch, who was excessively fond of aquatic amusements of all kinds, would frequently repair with his courtiers and frolic dames. Thither also Queen Mary, the consort of William the Third, went on the occasion of a grand musical entertainment; and the place continued in vogue for many years, until at length, degenerating in its character, it became the haunt of a very disreputable part of the community.

The Folly resembled a large one-storied[sic] house, very long in proportion to its width, built upon an immense barge. There was a platform at the top, defended by a strong wooden balustrade, and flanked at each corner by a little turret with a pointed top, surmounted by a small streamer. These turrets constituted small drinking and smoking rooms, and were fitted up with seats and tables. In the centre of the structure was a sort of open belvidere, covering the main staircase leading to the roof. On this a large flag was planted.

The Folly was approached from the water by steps on three sides. It was lighted by a range of large and handsome windows, and entered by two doors, one at the end, and the other at the side. Within, it contained a long music-hall with a frescoed ceiling, gilded and painted walls, an orchestra and the necessary complement of benches, chairs, and small tables.

There was, moreover, a bar, where all sorts of liquors, materials for smoking, and other tavern luxuries were dispensed.

The rest of the structure was divided into a number of small apartments for private parties, and, in short, boasted every sort of accommodation afforded by a similar place of entertainment on shore.

In summer it was delightful — the view of the Thames from its summit being enchanting. The coolness and freshness, combined with the enlivening influences of beauty, wine, and music, made it, on its first establishment, a charming place of recreation; and it cannot be wondered that the merry monarch, and his merrier court, found it so much to their taste.

Map: HMS President, left bank

The only surviving World War I, "Q-Boat" disguised armed merchant ship to combat the new fangled submarine menace.
Now tea and dancing - it is said soon to be a Casino. What a sad loss!

 

Map: HQS Wellington, left bank

 

The London Television Centre, right bank

 

Map: The National Theatre, right bank just above Waterloo Bridge

 

The National Film Theatre, right bank just above Waterloo Bridge

 

Waterloo & City Line Tunnel

 

1898: City Line Tunnel built.

 
 
 
 
Upstream to Waterloo Bridge




Introduction
Estuary
PLA
QEII Br
Barrier
Tower Br
Custom Ho
London Br
; Frost Fairs
Cannon St Rb
The Great Stink
Southwark Br
Millenium Br
Blackfriars Rb
Blackfriars Br
Waterloo Br
Charing Cross Rb
Westminster Br
Lambeth Br
Vauxhall Br
Victoria Rb
Chelsea Br
Albert Br
Battersea Br
Battersea Rb
Wandsworth Br
Fulham Rb
Putney Br
Hammersmith Br
Barnes Rb
Chiswick Br
Kew Rb
Kew Br
RICHMOND
Twickenham Br
Richmond Rb
Richmond Br
TEDDINGTON
Kingston Rb
Kingston Br
Ditton Slip
Hampton Br
MOLESEY
SUNBURY
Walton Br
Desborough Cut
SHEPPERTON
Chertsey Br
CHERTSEY
M3 Br
Laleham Slip
PENTON HOOK
Staines Rb
Staines Br
Runnymede Br
BELL WEIR
Magna Carta Is
OLD WINDSOR
Albert Br
Datchet
Victoria Br
Black Potts Rb
ROMNEY
Eton
Windsor Br
Windsor Rb
Windsor Slip
Elizabeth Br
BOVENEY
Dorney Lake
York Cut
Summerleaze Fb
MonkeyIsland
New Thames Br
BRAY
Bray Slip
Maidenhead Rb
Maidenhead Br
Below Boulters
BOULTERS
Cliveden
Hedsor
COOKHAM
Cookham Slip
Cookham Br
BourneEnd RFb
Quarry Woods
A404 Br
MARLOW
Marlow Br
Bisham
TEMPLE
HURLEY
Medmenham
Culham Ct
Aston Slip
HAMBLEDEN
Temple Is
Fawley Ct
Remenham
Regatta
Phyllis Ct
Henley Slip
Leander
Red Lion
Henley Br
Angel on Br
Landing
Hobbs Boatyard
Hobbs Slipway
MARSH
Hennerton
Bolney
Wargrave
Shiplake Rb
R.Loddon
SHIPLAKE
Sonning Br
SONNING
Dreadnought
K&A Canal
CAVERSHAM
Reading Br
Caversham Br
Reading Slip
Purley
MAPLEDURHAM
Hardwick Ho
Whitchurch Br
WHITCHURCH
Hartswood Reach
Gatehampton Rb
Goring Gap
Goring Br
GORING
Swan
CLEEVE
Moulsford
Moulsford Rb
Papist Way Slip
Winterbrook Br
Wallingford Br
BENSON
Shillingford Br
R.Thame
DAYS
Burcot
Clifton Hampden
Clifton Church
Clifton H Br
Barley Mow
Long Wittenham
CLIFTON
Appleford Rb
Sutton Courtenay
Sutton Br
CULHAM
Culham Cut Fb
Abingdon Slip
Abingdon
Abingdon Br
ABINGDON
Nuneham Rb
Nuneham
Nuneham Park
Radley Boats
SANDFORD
Rose Island
Kennington Rb
Isis Br
Iffley Mill
IFFLEY
Oxford Rowing
Isis
Donnington Br
Riverside Slip
Boathouses
Punting
Lower Cherwell
Upper Cherwell
Islip
Head of River
Salters Steamers
Folly Br
Bacons Folly
Oxford Fb
Osney Fb
Weir stream
Osney Rb
Bullstake Stream
Osney Marina
OSNEY
Osney Br
Four Rivers
OLD RIVER
CANAL
Medley Weir Site
Medley Fb
Bossoms
Perch
Trout
GODSTOW
Godstow Nunnery
Godstow Br
Thames Br
KINGS
River Evenlode
EYNSHAM
Swinford Br
Oxford Cruisers
PINKHILL
Farmoor
Stanton Harcourt
Bablock Slip
Arks Weir Site
NORTHMOOR
Harts Fb
//Rose Revived
Newbridge
//Maybush
River Windrush
below Shifford
SHIFFORD
Shifford Fb
Tenfoot Fb
Trout Inn
Tadpole Br
RUSHEY
Old Mans Fb
RADCOT
Radcot Cradle Fb
Swan Inn
Radcot New Br
Radcot Old Br
GRAFTON
Eaton Hastings
Kelmscott
Eaton Fb
BUSCOT
Bloomers Hole Fb
Trout Inn
St Johns Br
ST JOHNS
Halfpenny Br
Marina Slip
LIMIT
Inglesham
Hannington Br
Kempsford
Castle Eaton Br
Marston Meysey
A419 Br
Cricklade
SOURCE?
THAMES HEAD
SEVEN SPRINGS