The Mystery of the Brixton Road footbridge
urban75 readers track down a forgotten landmark
(Updated © urban75, 14th October 2008)
It started with a request by Paulie for a photo of the old footbridge in Brixton on the urban75 bulletin boards.
The request was met by such head scratching that posters began to fear that he'd dreamt the entire thing up because no one seemed to recall the bridge existing.
Despite the lack of forthcoming photographic proof, Paulie continued to describe the old bridge:
The bridge was pretty much on top of the pedestrian crossing which was always there (and which most people opted for). I think it survived until the mid 70s. It was a girder monstrosity with big planks laid across for the steps and bridge span - they flexed a fair bit when a bus went underneath.
To give a more accurate placing - it ran between Tunstall Road and the tube with the stairs at right angles on the south side.
Happily, the poster 'haushoch' came to the rescue, unearthing a photo showing a section of the footbridge from 'London Anders Reisen' published in 1980 by Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag GmBH.
The photo was by Michael Kadereit, and the books were guides for tourists who didn't want to visit the typical tourist spots, but wanted a real insight into the place they were visiting.
Here haushoch explains how she came by the book:
I bought the book in 1987 before I came over to London for my very first holiday on my own (i.e. without my parents). It's great. Anders Reisen means alternative travelling. Lots of suggestions in there that take you off the beaten track and away from the typical tourist spots, which is exactly what I wanted to do.
The Brixton photos appear in a chapter where the authors suggest you take a journey on the 159 bus.
The book's been sitting on my book shelf for ages, but I had friends over from Germany at the weekend, so we dug it out, even though it's wildly out of date now, and as I was flicking through it I saw that pic with the bridge in it and remembered this thread.
Apart from the exceptional combover seen on the guy closest to the camera, posters noted that the 172 bus advertised at the bus stop stopped running some time in the 80s, and that the Dunn & Co. stores seen under the railway bridge vanished sometime in the early 80s.
Read more on the thread: The Brixton footbridge
Update July 2010 - more photos
This picture from 1975 shows the footbridge in all its wooden glory!
Looking north along Brixton Road from the elevated pedestrian walkway.
A 1978 photo showing John Collier's menswear store adjacent to Tunstall Street with the The elevated pedestrian walkway clearly visible.
You can see the first steps of the footbridge in this 1975 view. Note the Littlewoods department store across the road.
[Pics: Lambeth Landmark]
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