The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 24 The Thames Embankment, Westminster to St Paul's

Waterloo Bridge

Previous - Next

Opposite Cleopatra's Needle is the Monument of Belgium's Gratitude for British aid during the War. The sculptures are by J. Rousseau (1919), the general design by Sir R. Blomfield (1920). On the Embankment parapet, opposite the end of Savoy St., is a memorial to Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901), by Sir George Frampton (a replica of the panel in St. Paul's). We now pass under the first arch of Waterloo Bridge, leading south-east to Waterloo Station and the 'Elephant'. This exceptionally graceful bridge (of which Canova said it 'was worth a journey from Rome to see') was built by John Rennie in 1811-17 at a cost of about �940,000. It is 1240 feet long and 42 feet wide, and has nine arches, each 35 feet high and 120 feet in span. The view rivals that from Westminster Bridge. In December 1923 the bridge showed signs of subsidence and it is at present under sentence of death by the London County Council. A substantial temporary bridge alongside was opened in 1925. Just below Waterloo Bridge are (right) the floating Thames Police Station and (left) the River Facade of Somerset House, with its water-gate and fine terrace supported by arches, well seen from the bridge. The east side of Somerset House is bounded by Strand Lane, opposite which is a statue of Sir Isambard Brunei (1805-59), the engineer of the Thames Tunnel. Here the roadway forks. Approach Road, the branch to the left, leads past the ends of Surrey St., Norfolk St., and Arundel St., the London County Council Tramways Office, and the charming little Sun of Canada House, built as the Astor Estate Office. In the space between the two arms are the Temple Station and another section of the Embankment Gardens. The latter contains a statue of west east Forster (1818-86), the statesman, by H. R. Pinker (1890); a bandstand; a fountain to Lady Henry Somerset, the temperance advocate, by G. E. Wade; a statue of John Stuart Mill (1806-73), the philosopher and economist, by Thomas Woolner (1878); and copies of the Wrestlers of Herculaneum.