The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size. Photo © Lawrence Mackman
Photo © London Metropolitan Archives, City of London

100 Buildings 100 Years

1945: Waterloo Bridge, London

Status: Listed Grade II*
Architect: Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
Location: London SE1

The views from Waterloo Bridge have to be the best in London – a great sweeping arc from the South Bank, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and the Victoria Embankment to Somerset House, St Paul’s Cathedral and the National Theatre. The bridge has an elegant simplicity – a suave mid-20th century modern creation by the great Sir Giles Gilbert Scott working with engineers Rendel, Palmer and Tritton. The five arches of the 80-feet-wide bridge are constructed of reinforced concrete and faced with Portland stone resting on boat-shaped cutwaters of granite. It was commissioned by the London County Council to replace its much-loved but structurally unsound and far too narrow Georgian predecessor, by Sir John Rennie, of 1817. The present-day Waterloo Bridge was opened in December 1945 by the then Deputy Prime Minister Herbert Morrison who, as Leader of the London County Council in 1934, had approved its construction. During the Second World War much of the building work was carried out by women, earning it the nickname ‘The Ladies Bridge’.

by Edmund Bird

Listing description

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