I would guess that a fair sized percentage of Marlovians would recognise the name of William Tierney Clark (1783 – 1852) as the architect responsible for our beautiful suspension bridge which is famous worldwide. 

However, probably lesser known are his three other bridges of similar design, only one of which is still standing, and that largely reconstructed after major war damage.

Marlow Bridge, picture top left, was completed in 1832, replacing a derelict wooden bridge that crossed the river from the bottom of St. Peter Street.

Our suspension bridge had its original cross beams renewed in 1860 and underwent a major renovation programme in the 1960s when its entire future had fallen into doubt. 

Apart from that, its looks much the same as when built.

The Norfolk Suspension Bridge crossing the tidal River Adur at Shoreham-By-Sea in Sussex was opened in 1834, financed by the Duke of Norfolk from nearby Arundel Castle. 
Spectacular statues of horses crowned the towers.

It was replaced in 1923 by a far too narrow iron construction that caused major problems as motor traffic increased.

A new by-pass and modern bridge was built in 1970.

Clark’s Budapest Bridge that crossed the Danube took nearly ten years to complete; the work supervised by Scotland’s Adam Clark (no relation) and opened in 1849.

It officially bears the name of István Szėchenyi who provided much of the funding, but is usually known just as “The Chain Bridge”.

It was rebuilt after almost total destruction by the Germans during the Second World War.

Members of the Budapest Ragtime Orchestra, on their first tour of this country, and playing a date at Marlow Jazz Club, were thrilled to be photographed alongside Marlow Bridge, the smaller “prototype” of their own home town bridge.
Clark’s first bridge crossed the Thames at Hammersmith and opened in 1827. 

It lasted only to the 1880s when a completely different structure designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette was built, although using Clark’s original pier foundations.

This is still there today, although currently the source of much controversy, having been closed since 2019 as result of cracks appearing.

I started by saying that Tierney Clark’s connections with Marlow are well known, although the fact that he was not the original architect given the task of building a new bridge here is not often noted. 

This was first handed in 1829 to a gentleman called John Millington whose design and initial foundation works looked so disastrous that he “did a runner” before he could be dismissed, and that is when Tierney Clark took over.

Millington had planned a suspension bridge, but it was a very fragile looking structure largely similar to Brighton’s Chain Pier, built by his friend Captain Samuel Brown.

The Brighton pier collapsed in a storm in 1896!

Contact Michael at michael@jazzfans.co or 01628 486571.