Can You Work Out All 11 Tube Stations Named After Bridges?

M@
By M@
Can You Work Out All 11 Tube Stations Named After Bridges?

Londonist travel news and features are brought to you in partnership with CommuterClub. Get better value on your daily commute.

There are 270 stations on the London Underground network. 4% of them are named after bridges.

Archway

The only bridge in our list that does not span water Archway is named after an iron bridge that carries Hornsey Road over the A1. The valley it spans is artificial, gouged out of Highgate Hill in the early 19th century. The original bridge was designed by John Nash, of Regent Street fame. It was replaced in 1897 with the current span.

Bow Road

Bow Bridge in 1851, public domain.

The East End neighbourhood of Bow derives its name from a 12th-century bow-shaped bridge that crossed the River Lea hereabouts. The area was then known as Stratford-atte-Bowe, eventually shortening to just Bow. The span has been widened and replaced several times. The current version includes a major roundabout and flyover and could hardly look more dissimilar to the bucolic scene above.

Bromley-by-Bow

Bromley, just south of Bow, probably gets the first part of its name from a medieval bramble field. The station here was originally known as Bromley, but changed to Bromley-by-Bow in 1967, to avoid confusion with the south-London borough of the same name. The Bow, of course, derives from the same bowed bridge mentioned above.

Knightsbridge

Detail from Cary's New And Accurate Plan Of London And Westminster 1795

There's little evidence of a river in Knightsbridge today but, until the late 18th century, the River Westbourne ran north-south through the area. It is now beneath ground, and part of the sewer network. The name is an ancient one, first recorded in 1050 as Cnihtebricge. Who the mysterious knight or knights were is lost to history, and several fanciful origin stories can be found on the web. The Old English word cniht can, apparently, mean 'young man', so it may simply have been a bridge where the yoof hung out.

London Bridge

No mystery surrounding this one. London Bridge is named after London Bridge. The mainline station opened in 1836 — the earliest train terminus in the city that is still in use. The first tube station arrived in 1890. Both stations were built during the tenure of John Rennie's London Bridge — the structure that was demolished and moved to Arizona in the 1960s.

Putney Bridge

Another simple etymology, named after the nearby Thames road crossing. The station opened in 1880 as part of what we now call the District line. It has previously gone by the names of Putney Bridge & Fulham, and Putney Bridge and Hurlingham. Both former names make it clear that the station is north of the Thames, whereas the modern name might mislead the unwary traveller into assuming it is south, in Putney.

Redbridge

The town and London borough both get their names from a red-brick bridge over the River Roding. The station opened in 1947, 26 years after the bridge had been demolished. The replacement bridge is a disappointing shade of meh.

Stonebridge Park

The northwest suburb takes its name from an 18th century stone bridge, which took Harrow Road over the River Brent. There's still a crossing here, but — like at Bow — it's disguised by a busy junction.

Upminster Bridge

The tube station famous for having a swastika on its floor is named after a bridge over the River Ingrebourne. A crossing has existed here since at least the 14th century, though the bridge today is unremarkable.

Uxbridge

This is the canal bridge, very close the the original Uxbridge.

The Swan and Bottle pub in Uxbridge will be familiar to anyone who's walked the canal towpath here as part of the London LOOP. Since time immemorial, a bridge has crossed the River Colne just west of this spot, lending its name to the wider area. The crossing was formerly known as Wixan's Bridge, after the Anglo-Saxon Wixan tribe, who settled in the area.

Waterloo

A bit of a cheat to finish in that Waterloo station was, of course, ultimately named after the Battle of Waterloo. We're including it here because the bridge was the first thing in the area to take the name. The station and surrounding area followed suit a few years later.

Coincidentally, the Earl of Uxbridge (see 'Uxbridge' above) was one of Wellington's key commanders at Waterloo. It was he who, on being wounded, famously told Wellington "By God, Sir, I've lost my leg!", to which Wellington replied, "By God, Sir, so you have!"



Other pontine possibilities

A 12th station named after a bridge is planned. Cassiobridge would be one of the new stations on the extended Metropolitan line in Watford, whose future is now uncertain. It would be named after an old bridge over the River Gade.

In addition, there are many more stations named after rivers. These include Bayswater, Brent Cross, Holborn, Kilburn, Pinner, Roding Valley, Snaresbrook and Stamford Brook, to name but a few. Other stations recall fording points over rivers, and include South Woodford, Stratford and Watford.

For completists, another crop of stations get their names from bridge-like structures. Aldgate and Moorgate, for example, were both called after ancient City gates, which might be considered as arches or bridges in the wall. Likewise, Barbican is named after a defensive feature of the walls, which would have included a span over a roadway. Embankment is named after land reclaimed from the river, though to consider it bridging would be silly. Likewise, if you muster every mote of your imagination, Marble Arch station might just about scrape into this addendum.

Pedant's note: we've used 'tube station' in the commonly understood sense to mean any of the 270 stations on the London underground network. While we acknowledge that some people make a distinction between 'tube station' and 'cut and cover station', we can't be arsed.

Londonist travel news and features are brought to you in partnership with CommuterClub. The easier way to afford an annual season ticket. How much could you save? Find out here and save £20 off your first month with this exclusive Londonist offer.

Last Updated 22 September 2017

Juno

Do you have to talk about the River Westbourne and the River Ingrebourne? If bourne means river you could probably get away with just Westbourne and Ingrebourne. And while I'm on the subject - River X or X River? Nobody talks about the River Amazon.