Riverside, south bank, west of the Tower. Barnes St Paul's School
This posting covers the south side of the river in this square only – basically a small area at the northern end of Castlenau which covers only Hammersmith Bridge and the playing fields of St.Paul’s school. North of the river is Hammersmith Riverside
Post to the south Castelnau
Post to the west Chiswick riverside to Bedford Park
Post to the east Central Hammersmith
Hammersmith Bridge. This is a suspension bridge built in 1887 to the designs of Joseph Bazalgette. It replaced an earlier suspension bridge erected in 1827, and which was the first to be constructed in London on that principle. That bridge was designed by Tierney Clarke with a roadway which was sixteen feet above high-water mark suspended by eight wrought iron chains arranged in four double lines. It was a toll bridge and there were octagonal toll-houses. However it was only twenty feet wide and not strong enough to take the traffic which was using it.
The current bridge is also very narrow with elaborate designs on the ironwork. It is built on foundations of Tierney Clark's bridge. It was built by Dixon, Appleby & Thorne to Bazalgette’s designs and opened by the Prince of Wales in 1887. At both ends there is elaborate ironwork including a motif up of seven coats of arms of the adjacent local authorities, the Riyal Arms and so on. The bridge has however long suffered structural problems and been closed for long periods. In 1973 it was given new steel trusses, new deck timbers and a number of other strengthening measures. There have however been subsequent failings. There is a plaque on the handrail of the bridge to Charles Campbell Wood who saved a drowning woman here.
The walk continues around the tip of the Peninsula past the school playing fields
This square covers only part of the school premises – the northern area which includes the main block and some of the playing fields.
St Paul's School is an independent boys’ school, located here. Since 1881 it has its own preparatory school, Colet Court, which has also been here since 1968. St Paul's is thought to be one of the leading schools in the country. The school was founded by John Colet, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1509. He used his whole fortune to endow the school, making it the largest school in England and left it to be managed by the Worshipful Company of Mercers. He was advised in his planning by Erasmus, who wrote textbooks for the school’s use and assisted in the recruiting of staff. There were to be 153 scholars “of all countres and nacions indifferently”. The first building was alongside St Paul’s Cathedral and was burnt down in 1666. The school has since moved four times before settling at the present riverside site in 1968. It had previously been in Hammersmith in buildings by Waterhouse used as army headquarters during the Second World War. At Barnes the land had previously been the used for reservoirs which were filled in, apparently with earth excavated for the Victoria line. The new school buildings were constructed on the CLASP system for lightness on this made up ground. The sports pitches took a long time to settle and competitive matches were not played regularly here until 1979. The school us primarily a day school although there are some boarders and it was purely a boarding school during the Second World War. The 1968 buildings include a swimming pool and sports facilities which include a fencing salle, six rugby fives courts, three squash courts and a racquets court as well as a boathouse and the more usual sports facilities. There is no school hall. The music department building for Colet Court is an old water hoard building. There are plans for rebuilding the entire school.
John Colet Memorial. Bronze group of Dean
Colet and two kneeling scholars by Hamo Thomycroft, beneath an open bronze
canopy, 1902. Brought from the
school's former home in West Kensington.
West Middlesex Water Works. The company's installations covered most of this site before the school was built here. The School buildings appear to rest on the site of six filter beds plus a reservoir on the east side, west of Castlenau
GLC. Thames Guidelines,
Pevsner and Cherry. South London
Port of London Magazine
St.Paul’s School. Web site