The Bridge Of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs by Silver Machine, source Flickr.

There are many great sights around Oxford but this is one, due to its distinctive design, makes it a city landmark worth seeing. Located within a few hundred metres from the iconic Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre and the Bodleian Library.

The bridge is popularly known as the Bridge Of Sighs but is officially called Hertford Bridge as it connects two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane in Oxford.

Completed in 1914 and designed by Sir Thomas Jackson, the architect who is best remembered for his work at the Examination Schools, Hertford College, Brasenose College, and Trinity College. The Bridge of Sighs lies right opposite the entrance to the Bodleian Library, famous for its similarity to the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, has never intended to be a replica of the Venetian bridge, and instead it bears a closer resemblance to the Rialto Bridge in the same city. Nevertheless, the bridge provides a popular photo opportunity for tourists and newcomers.

The Bridge of Sighs by night photographed by Bernd Kronmueller, source Flickr.

The legend of the Bridge of Sighs says that many decades ago, there was a survey of the health of Oxford University students, and when Hertford College’s students were found to be the heaviest, the college closed off the bridge that links the old and new quads in order to force the students to take the stairs, thereby getting more exercise. Sadly, this legend turns out to be false. The bridge is always open, and requires students to use more stairs than if they didn’t use the bridge at all.

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