Kingston Bridge, London
Kingston Bridge from upstream at Kingston
|Locale||Kingston upon Thames|
|Total length||382 feet 0 inches (116.43 m)|
|Height||23 feet 11 inches (7.29 m)|
|Longest span||60 feet 0 inches (18.29 m)|
|Number of spans||5|
|Piers in water||4|
|Opened||17 July 1828|
|Daily traffic||50,000 vehicles|
|Heritage status||Grade II* listed structure|
Kingston Bridge is a road bridge at Kingston upon Thames in London, England, carrying the A308 across the River Thames. It joins the town centre of Kingston in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, to Hampton Court Park, Bushy Park, and the village of Hampton Wick in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. As of 2005[update], it carries approximately 50,000 vehicles per day with up to 2,000 vehicles per hour in each direction during peak times.
Kingston Bridge is on the reach above Teddington Lock and close to and downstream of the mouth of the Hogsmill River, a minor tributary of the Thames. It is on the route of the Thames Path and is the end point for the Thames Down Link long distance footpath from Box Hill station.
According to 16th century antiquarian John Leland, there was a bridge in Saxon times. He wrote "And yn the old tyme the commune saying ys that the bridge where the commun passage was over the Tamise was lower on the ryver then it is now. And when men began the new town in the Saxons tymes they toke from the very clive of Comeparke (cliff of Coombe Park) side to build on the Tamise side; and sette a new bridge hard by the same." However, it is also claimed that the first Kingston Bridge was constructed in the 1190s.
Leland refers to a contemporary bridge and to an older wooden bridge that had existed at Kingston since the 13th century. This was downstream of the present bridge where Old Bridge Street at Hampton Wick used to be matched by an Old Bridge Street on the Kingston side – the former Saxon bridge being further downstream. In 1318 the bridge was described as being in a dangerous condition. The bridge contributed greatly to Kingston's success as a medieval market town.
As a crucial link between Surrey and Middlesex, the mediaeval timber bridge was susceptible to destruction during civil conflict as happened during the Wars of the Roses and Wyatt's rebellion. There are records of tolls being granted for a number of years to pay for repairs to the bridge, but in 1567, Robert Hamond made it a free bridge for ever. However in spite of his endowments it appears by the 18th century some tolls had been reimposed. The bridge was described in 1710 "The great Wooden Bridge hath 20 interstices: two in the middle wide enough for barges...it had 22 pierres of Wood and had in the middle two fair Seates for Passengers to avoid Carts and to sit and enjoy the delightfull Prospect".
In 1825 Kingston Corporation notified the City of London Corporation Navigation Committee that it intended to build a new bridge. The corporation planned to erect a cast-iron bridge, and an architectural competition was held with a prize of 100 guineas. The winner was John Burges Watson, with a design for a bridge of three equal arches. However, concerns over the rising cost of iron led to the abandonment of the scheme, and it was decided instead to build a stone bridge in the classical style to a design by Edward Lapidge, the County surveyor. The first stone was laid by the Earl of Liverpool at a ceremony on 7 November 1825. and the bridge was opened by the Duchess of Clarence, on July 17, 1828.
The new bridge, about 100 feet upstream from its predecessor, was built of Portland stone with five elliptical arches, the centre arch being a 60 foot span by 19 feet in height, and the side arches 56 feet and 52 feet spans respectively. The abutments were terminated by towers or bastions, and the whole surmounted by a cornice and balustrade, with galleries projecting over the pier; which gave a bold relief to the general elevation. The length of the bridge was 382 feet by 27 feet in width. The building contract was undertaken by Herbert for £26,800, and the extra work did not exceed £100, a very rare occurrence in either public or private undertakings of that description at the time.
The bridge became free from tolls in 1870, and celebrations including a fireworks show were followed a few days later with the burning of the toll gates on Hampton Green. It was widened between 1912 and 1914 with the carriageway increased from 25 feet to 55 feet. A new facade of Portland stone was designed to replicate the features of the original. The bridge was widened again in 2000 to include two bicycle lanes, larger pavements and a bus lane.
- River Thames Alliance. Bridge heights on the River Thames.
- "Thames Down Link". Surrey County Council. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Kingston upon Thames, The Environs of London: volume 1: County of Surrey (1792), pp. 212-256. Date accessed: 30 September 2008
- "Kingston’s History". Guided walks of Historic Kingston. Kingston Tour Guides. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Thacker 1968, p. 455
- Thacker, Fred S. (1968) [reprint of 1920 edition]. The Thames Highway. 2, Locks and Weirs. David & Charles. p. 454.
- Thacker 1968, p. 456
- "New bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames". The New Monthly Magazine and Universal Register 15: 559–6. 1 December 1825. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- "Old Kingston Bridge and Undercroft". Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- Details from listed building database (203099) . Images of England. English Heritage. accessed 27 November 2008
- Kingston New Bridge, in The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume XII., No. 324, July 26, 1828
- Kingston Bridge at Structurae
|Next crossing upstream||River Thames||Next crossing downstream|
|Hampton Court Bridge (road)||Kingston Bridge, London
Grid reference: TQ177693
|Kingston Railway Bridge (rail)|
|Next crossing upstream||Thames Path||Next crossing downstream|
Hampton Court Bridge
|Kingston Bridge, London||southern bank
Teddington Lock Footbridge