Bridge of Sighs (Cambridge)

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Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs (Cambridge) 20160828 (cropped).jpg
View of the bridge, taken from the Kitchen Bridge, 2016
Coordinates52°12′30.33″N 000°06′56.76″E / 52.2084250°N 0.1157667°E / 52.2084250; 0.1157667 (Bridge of Sighs)Coordinates: 52°12′30.33″N 000°06′56.76″E / 52.2084250°N 0.1157667°E / 52.2084250; 0.1157667 (Bridge of Sighs)
CrossesRiver Cam
LocaleSt John's College, Cambridge
Official nameSt. John's College New Bridge
Preceded byKitchen Bridge
Followed byMagdalene Bridge
DesignCovered arch bridge
No. of spansOne
ArchitectHenry Hutchinson
Construction end1831[1]

The Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge, England is a covered bridge at St John's College, Cambridge University. It was built in 1831 and crosses the River Cam between the college's Third Court and New Court. The architect was Henry Hutchinson.[2][3] It is named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice,[4] although they have little architecturally in common beyond the fact that they are both covered. The bridge, a Grade I listed building,[3] is one of Cambridge's main tourist attractions and Queen Victoria is said to have loved it more than any other spot in the city.[5]


Until the early 19th century, all Cambridge colleges were located in the east side of the River Cam. St. Johns college (rapidly expanding at the time) became the first to add accommodation on the west side, an area known as the Backs, with the construction of the New Court. The new buildings and the bridge linking them with the original college buildings, were designed in 1827 by Henry Hutchinson in the fashionable Gothic Revival style. Construction was completed in 1831, shortly before his death.[1]

On two separate occasions, students have pulled the prank of dangling a car under the bridge. In the first incident (in June 1963), a 1928 Austin 7 was punted down the river using four punts that had been lashed together, then hoisted up under the bridge using ropes.[6] The second incident (in 1968) a Bond or Reliant Regal three-wheeler car was dangled under the bridge.[citation needed] In neither case was the bridge damaged.

The bridge was apparently a favourite spot of former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, having photos taken there when he was a student, in 1974 and 2000.[7][8]

The bridge was a filming location for Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007 and The Theory of Everything in 2014.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The Bridge of Sighs". Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Cambridge Tourist Information". About Britain. Retrieved 23 June 2008. The famous Bridge of Sighs built in 1831 by Henry Hutchinson spans the River Cam... CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Historic England. "St John's College, New Bridge  (Grade I) (1326664)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  4. ^ "The Bridge of Sighs - St John's College, Cambridge". St John.
  5. ^ "New Court". St. John's College. Retrieved 27 September 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Plans to recreate Austin 7 Cambridge student stunt racing ahead". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ migration (26 March 2015). "PM Lee shares old pictures of parents at Cambridge's Bridge of Sighs".
  8. ^ "Lee Hsien Loong".

External links[edit]