Hampton Court Bridge

1606:  Hampton & Hampton Court Ferries

His Tears to Thamesis by Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Listen to 'His Tears to Thamesis'

I send, I send here my supremest kiss
To thee, my silver-footed Thamesis.
No more shall I reiterate thy Strand,
Whereon so many stately structures stand:
Nor in the summer sweeter evenings go
To bathe in thee, as thousand others do;
No more shall I along thy crystall glide
In barge with boughs and rushes beautifi’d,
With soft-smooth virgins for our chaste disport,
To Richmond, Kingston, and to Hampton Court.
Never again shall I with finny oar
Put from, or draw unto the faithful shore:
And landing here, or safely landing there,
Make way to my beloved Westminster,
Or to the golden Cheapside, where the earth
Of Julia Herrick gave to me my birth.
May all clean nymphs and curious water-dames
With swan-like state float up and down thy streams:
No drought upon thy wanton waters fall
To make them lean and languishing at all.
No ruffling winds come hither to disease
Thy pure and silver-wristed Naiadés.
Keep up your state, ye streams; and as ye spring,
Never make sick your banks by surfeiting.
Grow young with tides, and though I see ye never,
Receive this vow, so fare ye well for ever.

1750:  A wooden bridge was built.  Gilbert White, Selbourne, - About 1747 -

the bridge at the Toy, near Hampton-Court, being much decayed, some trees were wanted for the repairs that were fifty feet long without bough, and would measure twelve inches diameter at the little end …
[ Fred Thacker in 1920 commented that this was almost certainly for the first building, not repair, of the bridge]

1753:  December 13th First Hampton bridge (1753-1778) opened.  Constructed by Samuel Stevens and Benjamin Ludgator. An exotic seven-span timber bridge, it was a 20-foot wide road bridge and the largest Chinoiserie style bridge ever built (note the pagoda shaped roofs and curvilinear structure of the spans) -

Hampton Court Bridge, 1753, A Heckel engraved C Grignion
First Hampton Court Bridge (1753-1778), 1753,
A Heckel, engraved C Grignion
A black and white version appears below

Canaletti’s drawing of the first Hampton Court Bridge (1753-1778) painted in 1794 -

First Hampton Bridge Canaletti
First Hampton Bridge (1753-1778) in picture dated 1794

Hampton Court Bridge
First Hampton Court Bridge(1753-1778)

1811: "A Treatise on Bridge Architecture", by Thomas Pope -

This [first bridge(1753-1778)] is a most beautiful and picturesque structure: the part which spans the river is constructed of timber, but the two abutments are built of stone: it furnishes a pleasing apearance in perspective from the adjoining shores of the river. The length is five hundred feet, and has seven arcs. The piers are cases of timber filled with stone. Barges of one hundred tons burthen pass through this bridge, by lowering down their masts; they are most commonly dragged by horses, which, on account of the shallow depth of water at certain times of the tide, are permitted to wade up the stream.

[The accompanying illustration is a drawing of the first bridge(1753-1788) in the above print of 1753, together with a cross section]

Hampton Bridge, Thomas Pope, 1811
First Hampton Bridge(1778-1778), Thomas Pope, 1811

1778: The first bridge proved flimsy (no doubt the undulating design was not terribly functional for day to day use) and was rebuilt.

1790: Second Hampton Court Bridge(1778-1866), print by Thomas Rowlandson -

Hampton Bridge 1790
Second Hampton Court Bridge (1778-1866) in 1790, print by Tomas Rowlandson

1802: Picturesque Views on the River Thames, By Samuel Ireland -

FROM Hampton, the approach to the bridge presents a favourable association of objects for the pencil. The west end of the old building, formerly the banqueting house, breaks happily on the eye to complete the scene, and it is from that point of view only that this majestic pile can be introduced into the landscape to advantage.
HAMPTON COURT bridge, which is of wood, has a light and pleasing effect, and was finished about twenty-five years since, under the direction of a Mr. White of Weybridge ; the former bridge was so ill constructed as only to remain fit for use about thirteen or fourteen years.

Hampton Bridge 1802
Second Hampton Court Bridge (1778-1866) in 1802, print by Samuel Ireland

The second Hampton Bridge(1778-1866). I do not have a date for this picture-

Second Hampton Bridge
The second Hampton Bridge(1778-1866)

Krause in 1889 describes a "particularly ugly structure of iron" and attaches a sketch - but this must be the second bridge (1778-1866) -

Old Hampton Court Bridge
Second Hampton Court Bridge (1778-1866)

1834:  Tombleson’s Drawing of Second Hampton Bridge(1778-1866) -

Hampton Bridge in 1834, Tombleson
Second Hampton Bridge(1778-1866) in 1834, Tombleson

1864:  The old bridge was described as “crazy,hog-backed, inconvenient and obstructive of the navigation”.
But this sounds more like the first bridge(1753-1788) than the second?
The third Hampton Bridge (1866-1933), a wrought iron girder bridge, was started, designed by E.T. Murray. 

1866.  Third Hampton Bridge (1866-1933) bridge opened

Under Hampton Court Bridge, 1874, Alfred Sisley
Under Hampton Court Bridge, 1874, Alfred Sisley

1875: Third Hampton Court Bridge (1866-1933), Henry Taunt -

Hampton Court Bridge, James Dredge, 1897
Third Hampton Court Bridge (1866-1933), Henry Taunt, 1875
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT2327

Hampton Court Bridge
Third Hampton Court Bridge(1866-1933) in 1889

1897: Third Hampton Court Bridge (1866-1933), James Dredge -

Hampton Court Bridge, James Dredge, 1897
Third Hampton Court Bridge (1866-1933), James Dredge, 1897
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D230189a

1896: Hampton Court, Francis Frith -

1896:  Hampton Court, Francis Frith
1896:  Hampton Court, Francis Frith

1901:  The Thames illustrated : a picturesque journeying from Richmond to Oxford, John Leyland -

Hampton Court Bridge
'Old Hampton Court Bridge' 1901

1907:  Third Hampton Bridge (1866-1933), Watercolour -

Hampton Court
The third Hampton Bridge (1866-1933)

1933:  The fourth and current bridge was built to designs by Sir Edwin Lutyens

1955: Hampton Court, Francis Frith -

1955:  Hampton Court, Francis Frith
1955:  Hampton Court, Francis Frith

Hampton Court Bridge, 2005 © Doug Myers
Fourth Hampton Court Bridge (1933-), 2005 © Doug Myers

1610: Camden -

Afterwards [the Tamis] runneth hard by Hampton Court, a royall palace of the Kings, a worke in truth of admirable magnificence built out of the ground by Thomas Wolsey Cardinall, in ostentation of his riches, when for very pride, being otherwise a most prudent man, he was not able to mannage his minde.
But it was made an Honor, enlarged, and finished by King Henrie the Eighth so amply as it containeth within five severall inner Courts passing large, environed with very faire buildings wrought right curiously and goodly to behold. Of which Leland writeth thus:

A Stately place for rare and glorious shew
There is, which Tamis with wandring streame doth dowsse.
Times past by name of Avon men it knew,
Heere Henrie the Eighth of that name built a house
So sumpteous, as that on such an one
(Seeke through the world) the bright Sunne never shone.
And another in The Nuptiall Poeme of Tame and Isis:
He runnes by Hampton, which for spatious seat
Seemes Citie-like. Of this faire courtly Hall
First founder was a Priest and prelate great,
Wolsey, that grave and glorious Cardinall.
Fortune on him had pour' d her gifts full fast,
But Fortunes Bliss, Alas, proved Bale [doom] at last.

Alexander Pope wrote of Hampton Court -
Listen to 'Close by those meads ...'

Close by those meads, forever crowned with flowers,
Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towers,
There stands a structure of majestic frame,
Which from the neighbouring Hampton takes its name.
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
Of foreign tyrants and of nymphs at home;
Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take - and sometimes tea.

[ Great Anna is Queen Anne. "Tea" used to be pronounced "Tay".
How different our national politics now is - when we can so happily trust the peaceable way in which our government handles "foreign tyrants"; and now that individual politicians are such great examples of personal integrity
... ]

Daniel Defoe -

if there be a situation on the whole river between Staines Bridge and Windsor Bridge pleasanter than another, it is this of Hampton; close to the river, yet not offended by the rising of its waters in floods or storms; near to the reflux of the tides, but not quite so near as to be affected with any foulness of the water which the flowing of the tides generally is the occasion of.
The gardens extend almost to the bank of the river, yet are never overflowed; nor are there any marshes on either side the river to make the waters stagnate, or the air unwholesome on that account.
The river is high enough to be navigable, and low enough to be a little pleasantly rapid; so that the stream looks always cheerful, not slow and sleeping, like a pond. This keeps the waters always clear and clean, the bottom in view, the fish playing and in sight; and, in a word, it has everything that can make an inland (or, as I may call it, a country) river pleasant and agreeable ...
for as to passing by water to and from London, though in summer it is exceeding pleasant, yet the passage is a little too long to make it easy to the ladies, especially to be crowded up in the small boats which usually go upon the Thames for pleasure.
The prince and princess, indeed, I remember came once down by water upon the occasion of her Royal Highness`s being great with child, and near her time - so near that she was delivered within two or three days after. But this passage being in the royal barges, with strength of oars, and the day exceeding fine, the passage, I say, was made very pleasant, and still the more so for being short. Again, this passage is all the way with the stream, whereas in the common passage upwards great part of the way is against the stream, which is slow and heavy.

The Crossing Place, R Halfnight, 1890
The Crossing Place, R Halfnight, 1890

Lantern Slide (1883-1908) - Hampton Court from River
Pictures by W.C.Hughes. Thanks to Pat Furley, research by Dr Wilson.

1889: Jerome K Jerome -

... and ran the boat on past Hampton Court.  What a dear old wall that is that runs along by the river there!  I never pass it without feeling better for the sight of it.  Such a mellow, bright, sweet old wall; what a charming picture it would make, with the lichen creeping here, and the moss growing there, a shy young vine peeping over the top at this spot, to see what is going on upon the busy river, and the sober old ivy clustering a little farther down!  There are fifty shades and tints and hues in every ten yards of that old wall.  If I could only draw, and knew how to paint, I could make a lovely sketch of that old wall, I'm sure.  I've often thought I should like to live at Hampton Court.  It looks so peaceful and so quiet, and it is such a dear old place to ramble round in the early morning before many people are about.

1906: Hampton Court from the river, Mortimer Menpes -

Hampton Court, Mortimer Menpes, 1906
Hampton Court from the river, Mortimer Menpes, 1906

2000: an otter was spotted swimming near Hampton Court

John Eade punting below Molesey Lock, 1999
John Eade punting below Molesey Lock, 1999

[ This was about the last time I used a 20' wooden pole. I then converted to aluminium which I find much more user friendly. ]