Bridge That Won a Royal Seal; Answers to Correspondents

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HAMMERSMITH Bridge was opened on June 18, 1887, by Prince Albert Victor of Wales to replace an earlier suspension bridge.

Designed by Sir Joseph William Bazalgette and commissioned by the Metropolitan Board of Works, its construction was dogged by logistical difficulties with its unusual arrangement of link chains. In fact, it is closed to normal traffic because of its weakness.

The bridge carries, on its central abutment, the Royal Arms taken from the original seal of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

The other arms are the emblems the local authorities in the Board area: Kent, Guildford, Westminster, Colchester, Middlesex and the City of London.

The areas of Hammersmith and Barnes, linked by the bridge, missed out because they didn't receive their charters until 1897 and 1932 respectively.

With the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986, care and control of the bridge passed to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Alf Hailstone, High Wycombe, Bucks.

ANOTHER Thames bridge with an impressive coat of arms is the one Blackfriars, which carried the London, Chatham and Dover Railway and had the coat of arms of the railway company, designed by o s e p h C u b i t t i n 1 8 6 4 , incorporated in its structure.

These large coats of arms were preserved on site when the Western part of the rail bridge was demolished in the mid-Eighties What is the coat of arms on Hammersmith Bridge? Does any other Thames bridge have one?


and can be seen clearly from the road bridge at Blackfriars.

Bryan W. Rising, Whitstable, Kent.

Has anything of an earth-shattering nature been achieved by someone who liked a lie-in in the mornings?

THE 'Father of Philosophy' Rene Descartes (1596-1650), whose most famous dictum is cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am), was an expert in many disciplines.

He formalised geometry, invented the use of indices, ration-alised the science of optics, discovering that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection, and wrote a major work on meteors.

Descartes was schooled by Jesuits at La Fleche, in Anjou, specialising in scholastic philosophy that seeks to explain Christian o c t r i n e t h r o u g h h u m a n reasoning. His tutors recognised the powers of reflection when lying in bed after sleep, and so encouraged this.

Musings had then to be committed to essay and debate, or the students were flogged.

It is said that Descartes established the fundamental principles by which all graphs are plotted by trying to determine the position of My wife and I share the same birth date, April 9, 1934. …