The Hack Bridge

Drawing by Hackbridge Primary School pupils

Rough timeline of the history of our ‘Hack Bridge’

  • 1235 – Medieval bridge

    The original bridge built over the River Wandle was named ‘The Hack Bridge’, which is apparently where our neighbourhood gets its modern name from. Assumptions are that it was a pack-horse bridge.

  • 1793

    Mr Shepley owner of Shepley Mills proposed to the Vestry that he build a bridge to replace the medieval Hack Bridge, which was in a ruinous condition, in exchange for a piece of parish waste land. His offer was not accepted.

  • 1803

    Mr Shepley prosecuted the Vestry for their failure to keep the bridge in repair. The indictment was later withdrawn, and a public subscription fund was set up to raise money to build a new bridge. Most of the money was provided by Shepley, who decided that the bridge should be constructed of iron.

  • 1805 – cast iron bridge

    The Medieval bridge was replaced by a cast-iron bridge, one of the earliest in southern England. After an early repair in 1812, it lasted well and was only demolished in 1912 as it was too narrow for modern use.

  • c1913 – ferro-concrete bridge

    The replacement bridge was 26ft wide with 2 footbridges, designed by Messrs L G Mouchel & Partners of Westminster.

    Constructed using Hennebique’s ferro-concrete method by Mssrs Holloway Bros (London) Ltd, the arch was calculated to test a load of three x 14 tonne steam rollers!

  • 1981

    The existing bridge sadly has none of the architectural style of its predecessors. The surrounding landscape has seen significant changes over the decades, including the controversial narrowing of the River Wandle.

Pictures of the various bridges over time

Populated by Lysanne Horrox with information from Sutton Archives, Wandle Industrial Museum, Francis Frith.