Old Waterloo Bridge

London, England, UK

Demolished 1934

The Disappointed Tourist: Old Waterloo Bridge, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

I wondered if you had considered painting the original Waterloo Bridge? I was just reading a bit about in Aminatta Forna’s gorgeous novel “Happiness.” Charlotte S.

The first Waterloo Bridge was a granite toll bridge designed by John Rennie that opened in 1817. Prior to opening, it was known as the Strand Bridge. The American daredevil Samuel Gilbert Scott was killed on the bridge in 1841 while enacting a stunt in which he hung from a scaffold. In the 1840s, the bridge was known as a popular site for suicide attempts, inspiring Thomas Hood’s poem “The Bridge of Sighs” about a prostitute’s death. The bridge was also a favorite subject of both John Constable and Claude Monet and was used by scientist Michael Faraday in his experiments. The bridge was nationalized in 1874. From the 1880s onwards, it became apparent that the scour from the river flow had damaged its foundations. It was finally demolished in 1934 and replaced with the current Waterloo Bridge, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, which opened in 1942.