Address: London

500m from Blackfriars

500m from Blackfriars

The Millennium Bridge is a footbridge across the River Thames, located between Southwark Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge. It lies on a direct line between the Tate Modern Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, two of the most famous London landmarks.

It was built, as the name suggests, to coincide with the year 2000 and the associated celebrations. Construction started in February 1999 and the bridge opened on June 10th 2002. The designers were Foster & Partners (architects), Ove Arup (engineers) and Sir Anthony Caro (sculptor).

The design of the bridge was the result of a competition held by the Financial Times, the Borough of Southwark and the Royal Institute of British Architects. The winning team created a shallow suspension bridge that was 325m long, with a 4m wide aluminium deck. It was constructed by Monberg & Thorsen and Sir Robert McAlpine and on the first day of opening between 80-100,000 people used it, with up to 2,000 at a time. It is designed to hold over 5,000.

Whilst the design fulfilled the necessary criteria, the bridge produced a pronounced sway. The bridge was closed periodically over the first two days before being shut completely. This was embarrassing for the designers who worked hard to pinpoint the problem. They found that human reaction to swaying produced a greater sway which compounded the problem.

It was decided to fit viscous dampers to reduce lateral sway and tuned mass dampers under the deck to reduce vertical movement. This eradicated the problem and the bridge reopened on 27th February 2002. The cost of the bridge was £18m and the modifications cost £5m.

The bridge enjoys a location in the heart of the city and has appeared in a Harry Potter film.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.