In 1857, at a time when new railways were under construction all over Britain, R.

M. Ordish patented a 'rigid' or 'straight chain' suspension; bridge, strong and stiff enough to take the weight of moving trains. This drawing shows a proposed rigid suspension bridge spanning the Thames close to where Tower Bridge now stands. The bridge was intended to link the North London Railway (terminating at Broad Street Station) with the South East Railway (running into London Bridge Station). It was never built. The central span would have been 821 feet long with a height of 100 feet. However Ordish successfully employed this design when constructing the Franz Joseph Bridge in Prague (1868) and the Albert Bridge at Battersea (1873). Ordish's design also provides a detailed record of shipping and warehouses in the Upper Pool when the Thames was still a significant port.


Christie's 1989; current owner.

Guildhall Library

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