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Kew Bridge

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A river crossing and station located where the Thames makes the first northward loop on its journey through London. The name is not much used for the station’s hinterland, largely because Kew itself is on the opposite bank. Until 1759 a horse-ferry carried traffic across the river near here, owned for the last century of its existence by the Tunstall family, who also had a Brentford limekiln business. The entrepreneurial Robert Tunstall commissioned the building of a wooden toll-bridge, which lasted thirty years before his son, also Robert, replaced it with a stone structure. The present bridge was designed by John Wolfe-Barry and opened in 1903 by Edward VII, in whose honour it was named, although its users continued to call it Kew Bridge. The construction of the bridge, in concrete and granite, was a joint project by the county councils of Surrey and Middlesex. Kew Bridge station, on the Hounslow loop line, opened in 1850. In 1869 the London and South Western Railway Company built Kew Railway Bridge at Strand on the Green to provide a shorter route for their line to Richmond.

A gem among London’s lesser-known collections, Kew Bridge Steam Museum is housed in a former water pumping station on Green Dragon Lane. The museum has a narrow gauge steam railway, an exhibition on the story of London’s water supply and the world’s largest collection of steam pumping engines, several of which can be seen in action at weekends.

Kew Bridge
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The top of the cylinder of the Grand Junction 90 inch engine on display at Kew Bridge Steam Museum. Built in 1846 and weighing around 250 tons, it pumped water to Londoners for nearly a century and is the largest working engine of its kind in the world.

Postcode area: Brentford, TW8
Station: South West Trains (Zone 3)

Kew Bridge Steam Museum website

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

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