Saturday, 19 July 2014

Footbridge 2014 (post-conference)


As many of you already know, this week we were privileged to be able to share our ambition for the Radnor Bridge at a conference in London called Footbridge 2014 - attended by all the good and the great in today's worldwide bridge building community.

Over a period of three days we enjoyed key note sessions from leading practitioners about everything from the latest materials and technologies being adopted in bridge engineering to inspirational case studies and amusing explorations into bridge design - most notably the engineering concerns shared about famous bridges designed for Blockbuster Sc-Fi movies.

We had a unique opportunity to network and build invaluable relationships with the industry's leaders and pioneers. Here's hoping the advice and tips we gratefully received will help us take the Radnor Bridge vision further forward on its epic journey to becoming a reality.

You can find a copy of our paper here. And a copy of the slides is below;

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Footbridge 2014 (pre-conference)

On the 17th of this month (July) we will be delivering our paper all about Radnor Bridge at the Footbridge 2014 conference being held at Imperial College in Central London.

The title of our paper is "Genesis of footbridge design from a community perspective". We'll share the PPT after the event, so watch this space.

A new home for the Gloriana

As protests build, there is talk of direct action if the council tries to force through the idea of parking the Gloriana in a dry dock near Marble Hill Park against the wishes of local people.

Lord True, whose party won the recent local elections, let slip the proposals at a dinner. The council was then forced to put out a press release confirming his wish to give Gloriana a permanent home near Richmond. Apparently Lord Foster had been developing plans for the dry dock and boathouse. The proposal is expected to be funded by an application to the heritage lottery fund, private donations, and up to £1m of public money.

The key issue as we understand it is that (not for the first time) there has been no consultation in advance of fairly concrete ideas being aired by the Council - and - what the residents fear is that "this project will be a Trojan horse for more development along this beautiful bit of the riverside."

From Radnor Bridge's point of view; we are aware of an alternative campaign to build a bridge across the river at this same location beside Marble Hill Park. If the boat house is to go ahead, would this then be the first step toward a bridge being located here too? If so this would be a catastrophe for the area. It is simply the wrong place for a bridge to Ham. Not only would it definitely put Hammertons Ferry out of business it is also too close to Richmond Bridge, in line of sight from Richmond Hill and does not serving the needs of the wider borough.

In response to the Gloriana debate we have instead proposed that the boat be housed near where the Radnor Bridge will be located. [Between the bridge and Radnor House School.] After all, this would position it within easy access of Thames Young Mariners which has to be a good thing, especially since the Royal Rowbarge Gloriana is intended to “promote better use of the Thames” through “providing opportunities for Royal-supported, and other charities, to play their part in occasions and celebrations upon the Thames, with a particular emphasis on events involving young people.”

A consultation process kicks off today (Tuesday 1st July). And Lord True has said residents would be able to view the "concept of what architects are suggesting". But the detailed plans created by Lord Foster would not be available until they are submitted in a planning application in the autumn.

Since 2009, Mark Wing and Richard Woolf have worked tirelessly to share the Radnor Bridge idea and gradually more and more people are picking up their vision. As illustrated here the Radnor Bridge is located 'slap bang in the middle' of the borough. In this way it will offer the most strategic advantage for the majority of people in the borough.

Radnor Bridge will be located in the perfect mid-way point between Richmond and Kingston Bridges, offering the ideal river walk distance for the majority of leisure pursuits in the area. It will facilitate access to tourist attractions on both sides of the river and will undoubtedly compliment the existing services offered by Hammertons Ferry and Teddington Lock.

Suggestions for a pontoon along the Twickenham bank and a river Taxi service located at Radnor Gardens, supports the initiative to locate the bridge here too and this, along with a cycle park and new café, could also help to provide a more natural and (perhaps more importantly) accessible home for the Gloriana.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The idea first arrived at breakfast

It was back in 2010, having breakfast with friends, that I first shared a vision for Radnor Bridge.

Richard Woolf (a friend and architect living in Ham) agreed to help me bring the idea alive for the barefoot consultation happening in Twickenham that summer. Since then the two of us have worked tirelessly to share our idea and gradually the vision is being picked up by more and more people.

Just imagine;

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Richmond Expo 2014

Lots of fun and lots of interested people came to see our stand at the Richmond Expo on Friday June 6th. If you visited us there and have joined our Facebook page as a result do please say hello.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Improving cycle and pedestrian access across the river Thames

A distance of only 100m of water separates the two communities of Ham and Twickenham within Richmond Borough. Despite this relative closeness, residents in Twickenham find it hard to access the amenity and space of Ham, with its leisure walks, nature reserves, heritage sites, polo grounds and sailing clubs, while those in Ham are disadvantaged with poor access to transport and commercial links.
Over the years there have been several suggestions for a footbridge to finally connect Ham and Twickenham. But the location of the bridge has been hard to agree.
Some have proposed it should connect Ham House with Marble Hill Park. But this means crossing the river at a location that would impact on the historic ferry crossing and the protected view from Richmond Hill. It is also arguably too close to Richmond Bridge and doesn’t actually satisfy the needs of the majority of people who live in the wider borough. Others have proposed the bridge should cross over at one or other end of Eel Pie Island. But both of these suggestions would merely create a concentration of movement in an already busy Twickenham town center where the existing arrangement of roads and residences do not lend themselves to the landing stages of a suitable bridge.
Two residents from both sides of the River Thames, Richard Woolf (an architect) and Mark Wing (a creative strategist) have since established an initiative to convert the community’s ‘need’ for a pedestrian and cycle bridge into a ‘desire’ to see it realised. They believe that Radnor Gardens is the only truly suitable location for the bridge and for this reason have named the initiative “Radnor Bridge”.
At the heart of the Radnor Bridge initiative are two guiding principles;
1. Connecting two communities
Radnor Bridge will connect two communities. One through a formal “garden”, the other a natural “wilderness”, while at the same time create more open and inclusive neighbourhoods. It will link two separated worlds within the same borough and thus stimulate change – break down barriers, facilitate movement, sharing of interests and general goodwill.
2. Working with the landscape
The natural topology of the land on both sides of the River Thames, where Radnor Gardens is located, provides a crossing point and space for effective landing stages for a footbridge that will appear to be timelessly woven into its surroundings. Radnor Bridge will therefore be positioned where it will deliver the most strategic advantage to the wider community, while being sensitive to the existing plant and natural wildlife “as if it had always been there.”

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The enthusiasm for Radnor Bridge therefore responds to this existing land topology in Ham Lands and Radnor Gardens, spanning an optimum point on the river for natural ascent and descent. It will build on the success of the Thames Landscape Strategy over the past decade and the Ham Avenue Restoration Plan, to reinstate the Great River Avenue complimented by a new cycle and pedestrian crossing, which allows it to extend its reach for the first time to Radnor Gardens.
At the moment, Radnor Gardens is a little lost, below the line of sight and on the wrong side of a busy road it is often passed unnoticed. And yet, Radnor Gardens provides the only uninterrupted stretch of the River Thames visible from the high street, with its war memorial and numerous follies, it is a place of local interest on the doorstep of the newly refurbished Strawberry Hill House.
It is the perfect midway point between Richmond Bridge and Teddington Lock. It will also create an easy link between Ham House and Strawberry Hill House, as well as perhaps help to square the circle with both York House and Marble Hill House too.
Many cyclists already travel along Cross Deep and so it is proposed that a mini roundabout be introduced at the junction with Popes Grove to slow traffic around the schools and facilitate easy access for cyclists to head (without interruption) into the garden and across the bridge to The Avenue in Ham Lands.
Mark and Richard have therfore also proposed that the bridge deck be bifurcated, providing two separated levels of transfer across the Thames. The first, higher level, facing up stream will be for pedestrians and will allow for wheel chair access, the lower level facing down stream will be for cyclists. Height above maintained water level (MWL) is anticipated to be no greater than Richmond Bridge, however consultation with local yacht clubs indicates mast heights may establish this datum. It is anticipate a height clearance of 6.0m – 8.0m indicatively.
To summaries, Radnor Bridge will come to symbolise an elegant architectural form, designed to deliver a picturesque solution that roles with the landscape and the tradition of Arcadian Thames. It will be as much landscape as structure and a great legacy for future generations in the borough.
If you would like to know more, share your thoughts and hopefully register an interest to support this initiative, please visit the blogsite ( ) and also feel free to contact Mark by email at

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Did you know?

Until 1965 Radnor Gardens was in two parts, divided by a stream, effectively a parallel creek of the River Thames. And did you also know that a bridge helped you cross to the island gardens. Over time the stream (or parallel creek) became silted up and was finally filled in so that the whole space could become one big garden. 

The bridge was actually left in place and the top of its structure can still be seen marking the edge of the footpath leading down from the entrance to the gardens.

Go check it out.