Have you ever thought about the number of Thames crossings there are? On The Knowledge, it was something to be memorised, amongst so much else.
Mnemonics was the answer: We Have Water Below Moving Soft London Turds: Gave you the bridges across the Thames from West to East: Westminster, Hungerford, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Millennium, Southwark, London, Tower.
That’s all fine and dandy for road crossings, but what about all the other ways to cross that watery barrier?
First, for this count, we need to define London’s borders. To the west Richmond on the north bank and Kingston on the south bank is about the border of Greater London. As for east, Havering on the north bank and Bexley on the south bank seem about as far as anyone would want to travel into Essex. So the Dartford Crossing is excluded, as picturesque as it may be.
The crossings have to be accessible to humans, not fish swimming in the murky depths or rodents scurrying along utility tunnels.
Some crossings have various similar means to cross, trains for example will be counted as a single crossing unless one is Overground and another Underground, then that’s two crossings.
How many different places does the tube cross the Thames?
The Jubilee line traverses the murky depths an impressive four times in nine stops, yes somebody had to count this.
So here goes:
Canning Town/North Greenwich
North Greenwich/Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf/Canada Water
Waterloo & City Line:
Putney Bridge/East Putney
That makes a total of 11 routes to cross the Thames on a London Underground line.
Should you wish to remain above ground several trains traverse the Thames:
King George V/Woolwich Arsenal
Island Gardens/Cutty Sark
Imperial Wharf/Clapham Junction
City Thameslink/London Bridge
Cannon Street/London Bridge
Charing Cross/Waterloo East
Imperial Wharf/Clapham Junction
That’s 14 other railway crossings.
Now we have the Water Below Moving Soft London Turds or the more visible road and pedestrian crossings.
Hungerford/Golden Jubilee footbridge x two here in case you haven’t noticed
Fulham Railway Bridge (a footbridge runs along the eastern side of the railway bridge, so that’s two)
Barnes Bridge (a footpath runs alongside the railway bridge, also counted twice)
Richmond Lock and Footbridge
Teddington Lock footbridge
That’s a total of 25 roads and/or footbridges to cross the Thames within London.
Crossing the Thames via tunnels, either road or pedestrian from east to west.
Inspection tunnels that are closed to the public have been excluded, they are: Tower Subway, two tunnels beneath the Thames Barrier and other utility tunnels.
Blackwall Tunnel (two counted here)
Woolwich Foot Tunnel
Greenwich Foot Tunnel
That’s a total of 5 pedestrian/vehicle tunnels traversing the Thames.
Once this was the only way to cross the Thames, so boats and ferries have to be included.
Woolwich Free Ferry
RB4 RiverBus Service, running from the Doubletree Docklands Hotel in Surrey Docks, straight across the river to Canary Wharf Pier by Westferry Circus
Hammerton’s Ferry between Ham House and Marble Hill in Twickenham
For the pedants, there are the hop-on, hop-off services provided by the likes of UberBoats by Thames Clippers, but as the U Word is in their title we’re not counting those multiple methods of crossing the Thames.
So we’ll just say a total of 3 boat and ferry services offering direct routes across the Thames.
In addition, the cable car between Royal Docks and North Greenwich, whatever they call it this week, is included.
The total number of ways to cross the Thames by this count is 59, and if anyone can make up a mnemonic to remember that number please leave it in the comments section.