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29 May 2015

The Golden Jubilee Bridges - utter filth

If you are planning to go to the Southbank or come to the market in Embankment Gardens this weekend (see my last post below) you may need to cross the Thames on foot. The obvious choice for the pedestrian is to use one of the Golden Jubilee bridges that run either side of Hungerford Railway Bridge.

Ooh, isn't it lovely!   But look closer....
These elegant foot bridges are reported to carry approx 8.4 million people every year so it disappoints me that they are not being maintained as well as they should be. I wonder if anyone is looking at or checking anything other than the fine views because whenever I begin to climb up any of the four flights of stairs that lead to one of the pair of elevated footpaths I am appalled at how dirty and unkempt everything is – layers of filth on the verticals of the steps, in the corners, near the lifts, and all the way along the edges. Everywhere, really except for the handrails which have been buffed clean by people's hands and clothing over the years.
And the glass side panels on all staircases are dull and/or dirty in large patches – surely these cannot have been designed to end up looking like this?
It sends a terrible message about how we, as Londoners, disrespect our environment.

The stairs outside the Royal Festival Hall and a close up of them.
The metal that runs all the way along is grubby and could/should just be wiped clean. Ditto the area by the lift.
The approach from Embankment tube station is just as bad, perhaps worse. On exiting the station one can easily see the ugly side of the foot bridge, and it's not a pretty sight. Again, lots of filth, scuffed paint and ingrained dirt. What do visitors to London make of this? 

I already wrote about this issue in March 2012 and made some other suggestions – read it here.
On the day I took these photos the eastern bridge (13 May 2015) I spotted a man in a Veolia Environmental Services hi-vis jacket scraping out the moss that had grown between the paving stones and the metal edging. Perhaps this was a precursor to some proper cleaning. I hope so.

The metal signs giving information about the views are also in a sorry state – a buff with a soft sander or a cloth shouldn't be that hard to do. Or better still, get a new sign made!! After all, this must need updating by now considering the amount of new build in the past 10 years.

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Thanks, Jane