Bridge of Sighs (Cambridge)

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Bridge of Sighs
View from the Bridge of Sighs towards the Kitchen Bridge and Trinity College

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.[1][2]

It is named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice,[3] although they have little architecturally in common beyond the fact that they are both covered. The bridge, a Grade I listed building,[2] 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.[4]

A common myth states that it was the students who named this bridge "bridge of sighs," as the context of its existing within the college grounds means that the "sighs" are those of pre-exam students. This belief probably has much to do with the function of the bridge—linking two courts (New Court and Third Court) of St John's College together in a covered path, as opposed to Kitchen Bridge, which is an open-air bridge. Students are rumoured for their sighs on proceeding from their rooms on the Backs to the tutors' offices in the main college courts.

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.[5] 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.[6][7]

See also[edit]


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

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°12′30.33″N 000°06′56.76″E / 52.2084250°N 0.1157667°E / 52.2084250; 0.1157667 (Bridge of Sighs)