please empty your brain below

A friend of mine said that taking a date over the old Hungerford bridge at night to see the view of St Paul's was a good way to ensure that the night would end well. I had to agree.

I haven't been in London since the new bridges opened, and now I'm looking forward to seeing if they inspire the same catch of breath.

Erm ... that was the Festival of Britain in 1951. But that's what you meant to write, wasn't it?

dg writes: oops, er, yes it was... and now I have

The new bridges are an improvement, but I'm still quite fond of that former footbridge: I once lived in Kennington and that was my wayward route home once the West End had chucked out for the night.

About halfway along, the footbridge widened out briefly into a semi-circle, and one of my enduring memories is of a lone saxophonist playing there at dusk, silhouetted against the Royal Festival Hall, with St Paul's illuminated in the distance.

London magic.

I remember the old footbridge with some fondness, maybe something to do with a boy's fascination with being so close to rumbling trains. And at least you knew where you were with it.

Last year I arranged to meet a friend at the South Bank end of the footbridge. Problem is, having both been just occasional visitors to London since we grew up there, neither of us knew that there was a footbridge on *either* side of the rail bridge. Even with a couple of mobile conversations, it took us a good 15 minutes to work out why we couldn't see each other...

I also quite liked the old one. As Nigel says, the semi-circle was an obvious stopping point for gazing out up the Thames. But yes, the new one is much much more convenient for everyone and much nicer to look at etc etc

The new structures are intrusive on the skyline and hem in the footway. Show-off architecture.

I love London, been there 3 times, twice in the last 3 years. Your site is a vicarious treat for me.

10th Oct 1977 is etched on my memory for a similar reason. As a 10 year old I was part of huge choir of pupils from Barnet's junior schools singing at the Festival Hall. It was Barnet school's celebration of the Queen's silver jubilee. Can't remember what we sang though. Somewhere I have a recording of the whole event - on a vinyl LP.

Your first sentence (about not wanting to cross the old bridge) made me think of the guy who got thrown off the bridge by a gang of teenagers a few years back - here's a link to the story. Of course, the gang have probably all been released by now...

Ah, come on the new bridges are an immeasurable improvement on the manky old one.

Mind you, compared with the glistening, unfussy (and evenutally un-bouncy) steel blade a mile or so to the east their engineering seems strangely clunky and old-fashioned to the untrained eye. Not too keen on the "breeze block" finish of the footways on them either...

As a child, the old footbridge was always one of the first things I'd encounter on a trip to London. It was quite threatening, always quite constricting, and truth be told not a great welcome. Certainly shaped my early impressions.

Has anyone mentioned the leg room in the RFH or the lack of it? In 2004 I caught two gigs at the Ether festival there, and roughly a year later I got a begging letter from the RFH saying would I like to pay for new chair (sponsorship or whatever)...£100 for another 3 inches of leg room, a bargain...not!


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