Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

Barry Lewis (born 1948)
London Bridge
Gelatin silver print
© Barry Lewis/Museum of London

LondonDesign

Spanning the Ages

Take a walk through the past with photographic look back over London's bridges...

Don’t breathe too close to the screen or the below photograph might disintegrate. William Henry Fox Talbot’s salt print of Hungerford Bridge from 1845 – the year the bridge opened – is a major rarity from photography’s early days, and it’s going on display for the first time at Museum of London Docklands as part of an exhibition dedicated to the bridges spanning the Thames in the capital. The Hungerford Bridge was notable as an Isambard Kingdom Brunel creation, and the picture is equally notable as Fox Talbot was the inventor of “calotype” – the forerunner to the negative development technique which remained in use throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries. The photograph is so delicate that it will be displayed in a specially sealed, darkened case, and visitors will be required to press a button to briefly illuminate the print to prevent further damage.

As well as the bridges themselves – interesting feats of engineering and design from a range of eras – there’s plenty of “the way we were” nostalgia to be enjoyed in the vehicles and dress of pedestrians who feature in the photographs. Bridge is on display from 27 June to 2 November.

@MuseumofLondon

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877)
Hungerford Bridge
Salt print, made around 1845
© Museum of London

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

Henry Flather (1839-1901)
The Construction of the Metropolitan District Railway
Albumen print, made around 1868
© Henry Flather/Museum of London

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

George Davison Reid (1871–1933)
Children and a man on Tower Bridge,
looking towards Upper Pool
Pigment print, made 2014,
from gelatin silver print,
made in the 1920s, bound in album
© George Davison Reid/Museum of London

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

Unknown photographer
London Bridge from the South Side
Gelatin silver print,
made around 1900
© Museum of London

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

The Upper Pool seen under the Bascules of Tower Bridge
Gelatin silver print, made 1929
© Albert Gravely Linney/Museum of London

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

Suki Chan (born 1977)
Sleep Walk Sleep Talk: Film Still
Fujitrans lightbox, made in 2011
© Suki Chan/Museum of London

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

Lucinda Grange (born 1990)
Inside London Bridge
Pigment print made 2014
© Lucinda Grange

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

Roger Mayne (born 1929)
Waterloo Bridge during the morning rush hour
Gelatin silver print, made in 1964
© Roger Mayne/Museum of London

Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London Bridge at Museum of London Docklands, London

Sandra Flett (active 1950–60)
Hammersmith Bridge
Gelatin silver print, made around 1955
© Sandra Flett/Museum of London

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