Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

London bridges get listed status

Hammersmith Bridge
The government said the bridges showed British engineering at its best

Seven London bridges spanning the River Thames have been given greater protection to preserve their character.

Chelsea, Lambeth and Richmond Railway bridges were given Grade II status, and Cremorne, Hammersmith, Twickenham and Vauxhall bridges listed at Grade II*.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham made the announcement, who said the new status would protect the crossings from unsympathetic development.

The bridges have been given listed status on advice from English Heritage.

Mr Burnham said: "These seven examples represent the very best of Britain's bridge-building heritage - from one of the first modern suspension bridges in the world to Britain's only example of sculpture on a river crossing.

Chelsea Bridge
Cremorne Bridge
Hammersmith Bridge
Lambeth Bridge
Richmond Railway Bridge
Twickenham Bridge
Vauxhall Bridge

"They show British engineering at its best.

"I believe they should be celebrated and preserved for generations to come."

Simon Thurley, chief executive for English Heritage said: "London's bridges are the vertebrae of this great city's spine - the River Thames.

"Considering their architectural and historic contribution to the capital, a surprising number of these magnificent river crossings do not have statutory protection.

"I am therefore delighted that the minister has agreed with our advice and has awarded these spans listed status or upgraded their original listing.

"It is a fantastic endorsement of London's heritage."

The oldest Thames bridge being listed is Cremorne Bridge - also known as Battersea Railway Bridge - which was opened on 2 March 1863, and is one of the earliest surviving railway bridges to cross the Thames.

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