The history of Cannon Street Railway Bridge
Nothing whatsoever to do with weaponry, Cannon Street got its name as a shortening of the 17th century word 'candelwrichstrete' which means 'street of candle makers'. The area sits within the Ward of Candelwick, one of 25 ancient subdivisions of the City of London. Cannon Street Bridge, designed by Sir John Hawkshaw and originally opened in 1866, consists of five impressive spans supported by cast iron Doric pillars. The railway bridge carries trains from Cannon Street station across the Thames. Many of the original ornamental features were removed when the bridge was extensively renovated by British Rail in 1982. However, two brick towers from the original bridge remain on the river front. The towers conceal large tanks that contain enough water to power Cannon Street station's hydraulic lifts.
Illuminated River (2019-07-06/2019-07-06) by James NewtonIlluminated River
The artistic vision
Cannon Street Bridge, despite being one of the oldest bridges on the Thames, has never been lit before. Villareal's artwork celebrates the bridge's often overlooked utilitarian character and monumental Doric columns, giving it a new night-time identity. The linear structure is illuminated by a colour wash on each side that emphasises the clean horizontality of the bridge. The subtly kinetic play of light on these surfaces mirrors the motion of the trains as they pass above, whilst the colour palette complements the colour schemes of neighbouring London and Southwark Bridges. The rising vertical forms of the piers have been left unlit.
Cannon Street Railway Bridge - Illuminated River (2019-07-06/2019-07-06) by James NewtonIlluminated River
Cannon Street Railway Bridge (2019-07-16/2019-07-16) by James NewtonIlluminated River
Scroll to explore Cannon Street Railway Bridge in 360
Cannon Street Railway Bridge - Illuminated River (2019-09-24/2019-09-24) by James NewtonIlluminated River
Did you know that over 10.5 million people travel over Cannon Street Railway Bridge every year?
Leo Villareal and Cannon Street Railway Bridge, 2019 (2019-07-16/2019-07-16)Illuminated River
Leo Villareal discusses the architecture of Cannon Street Railway Bridge and the inspiration behind his artwork.
Videography by Paul Crawley ©
Cannon Street passenger data provided by Network Rail (averages from entry / exit data 2014-2015 and 2015-16)