KINGSTON NEW BRIDGE.
Through many a bridge the wealthy river roll’d.
The annexed picturesque engraving represents the new bridge from Kingston-upon-Thames to Hampton-Wick, in the royal manor of Hampton Court. It is built of Portland stone, and consists of five elliptical arches, the centre arch being 60 feet span by 19 in height, and the side arches 56 and 52 feet span respectively. The abutments are terminated by towers or bastions, and the whole is surmounted by a cornice and balustrade, with galleries projecting over the pier; which give a bold relief to the general elevation. The length of the bridge is 382 feet by 27 feet in width. It is of chaste Grecian architecture, from the design of Mr. Lapidge, to whose courtesy we are indebted for the original of our engraving. The building contract was undertaken by Mr. Herbert for L26,800. and the extra work has not exceeded L100. a very rare, if not an unprecedented occurrence in either public or private undertakings of this description. The first stone was laid by the Earl of Liverpool, November 7, 1825, and the bridge was opened in due form by her royal highness the Duchess of Clarence, on July 17, 1828.
Kingston is one of the most picturesque towns on the banks of the Thames; and its antiquarian attractions are of the highest order. It was occupied by the Romans, and in aftertimes it was either a royal residence or a royal demesne, so early as the union of the Saxon Heptarchy; for there is a record extant of a council held there in 838, at which Egbert, the first king of all England, and his son Athelwolf were present; and in this record it is styled Kyningenstum famosa ilia locus. Some of our Saxon kings were also crowned here; and adjoining the church is a large stone, on which, according to tradition, they were placed during the ceremony. Many interesting relics have from time to time been discovered in illustration of these historical facts, and till the year 1730, the figures of some of the above kings and that of king John (who chartered the town) were preserved in a chapel adjoining the above spot. In that year, however, the chapel fell, and with it were demolished the royal effigies. Mr. Lysons, with his usual accuracy, enumerates nine kings who were crowned here.
Kingston formerly sent members to parliament, till, by petition, the inhabitants prayed to be relieved from the burden!
At Hampton Wick, the village on the opposite bank, resided the witty but profligate Sir Richard Steele, in a house which he whimsically denominated “the hovel;” and “from the Hovel at Hampton Wick, April 7, 1711,” he dedicated the fourth volume of the Tatler to Charles, Lord Halifax. This was probably about the time he became surveyor of the royal stables at Hampton Court, governor of the king’s comedians, a justice of the peace for Middlesex, and a knight.