The very first bridge on the site was the work of the Romans who used it outflank the Britons waiting upriver at the main ford in AD70 and paved the way for the addition of England and Wales, Britannia as it was known to the Romans, to the Roman Empire.Later versions included a wooden bridge that was badly damaged during fighting between armies loyal to Anglo-Saxon king Ethelred the Unready and Viking king Canute in 1014, and the first stone version which was completed in 1209.Other bridges to appear include the iconic Tower Bridge, the new Hungerford Bridge and the even more modern Millennium Bridge.Vauxhall Bridge, which gets its name from a 13th century French mercenary employed by King John, who built 'Fulke's Hall' on the site, also stars in the show.Travellers come here typically to stay in a quiet, relaxed countryish environment while still retaining relatively easy access to London as a whole.Of the nearby Amersham hotels, the three star Crown Hotel is closest to the station.Ironically, Brunel’s bridge was demolished within fifteen years to make way for a railway crossing.
Later, the bridge was famously used to display the heads of traitors executed at the nearby tower, beginning with Scottish rebel William Wallace who was made an example of by Edward I 'Hammer of the Scots' in 1305.
At 1,462 feet long, the bridge was, at the time, one of the longest suspension bridges ever built, although Brunel, who was already working on several other projects when he took on the Hungerford Bridge work, appeared less than enthused by the project.
An entry in his 1835 diary reads: ‘Suspension bridge across the Thames – I have condescended to be engineer of this, but I shan’t give myself much trouble about it.
Featuring photos by James Abbott Mc Neill Whistler, Charles Ginner, William Raban and Lucinda Grange among others, the exhibition, at the Museum of London Docklands, also offers a snapshot of the changing face of the capital over the last 200 years.
Earliest of all the photos is a rare snap taken by pioneering photographer William Henry Fox Talbot in 1845, which shows the original Isambard Kingdom Brunel Hungerford Bridge - demolished just 15 years after it was built.