Long before Joanna Lumley went all AbFab over the idea of a garden bridge across the Thames, there was an earlier, and fortunately, never built plan for a garden bridge.

Less a bridge to cross the Thames than a saccharine laden memorial to the late Diana Princess of Wales.

Proposed, possibly seriously, hopefully just for the publicity value, by FAT Architecture, in response to a serious competition to design a bridge, it would have been a narrow span crossing the Thames where the Millennium Bridge is today.

The narrow path would have been lain with turf from Althorp park, the family seat of the Spencer family, although it would have certainly turned to mud within days of thousands of feet trampling across it.

The strip of parkland was however not for something as indelicate as simply getting from A to B, but a memorial garden, where it was expected people would lay flowers and tributes forever in memory of the People’s Princess.

If that wasn’t kitch enough, the lyrics to Elton John’s tribute song, “Candle in the Wind 98” would have been carved into the stone balustrades of the bridge.

Overblown, probably far too expensive and of no practical use, this garden bridge fortunately died a swift death, and a wobbly bridge was constructed instead.



FAT Architecture

Article last updated on May 13th, 2020 at 03:32 pm


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  1. Simon Bradley says:

    Besides the proposed Garden Bridge, Thomas Heatherwick has designed two earlier footbridges for London that were cancelled, apparently because of failure to control costs: see https://www.tcos.org.uk/single-post/2016/08/04/Heatherwick-bridges-fussy-expensive-shelved

    Lovers of the Thames and of London’s open river views are hoping the Garden Bridge project goes the same way, and soon.

  2. Robin says:

    Joanna Lumley was touting this idea back in 97/98 after Diana’s death. FORTUNATELY Ken Livingstobe threw the idea out TWICE.

  3. Melvyn says:

    Instead we got The Wibbly Wobbly Bridge which wasn’t well designed as Architecture for the FAT !

    Perhaps someone should bring back WWII plans by Abercrombie to replace Charing Cross Hungerford Bridge with a tunnelled railway. Just think with HS2 at Euston the Watford to Euston DC London Overground Line could be diverted into a sub surface Station at Euston then extended across London to Charing Cross and Waterloo and join lines from London Bridge. Thus freeing up Hungerford Bridge for other uses …

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