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Work on the first suspension bridge on the Thames linking Hammersmith to Barnes began in 1825, but by the 1870s Hammersmith Bridge was not strong enough to support the weight of heavy traffic. In 1884 a temporary bridge allowed some cross-river traffic while a replacement was constructed.
The current suspension bridge rests on the original pier foundations and was opened by the Prince of Wales on 11 June 1887. The bridge was bombed by the IRA in 2000 after which it was restored to the original colour scheme of 1887 and new lighting was installed. The bridge was declared a Grade II listed structure in 2008 thus protecting it from unsympathetic development.