The Coronation Footbridge over the River Roding

The footbridge over the River Roding from Ilford into Wanstead Park known as the Coronation Bridge was originally built in 1902 in the form of a “rustic” footbridge. It was officially opened on 21st June that year, and an Edwardian postcard appears shows people reading a notice posted on the Ilford side of the bridge. The sides of the bridge can be seen to be composed of diagonally crossed wooden branches. The bridge was rebuilt to some extent in later years – possibly the 1960's as I seem to remember (just) the original form. However, it has been closed since 2012, meaning that an easy access between Ilford and the Park – and indeed the only access – has been denied to pedestrians for too many years.

wp coronation bridge old artThe Coronation Bridge near the time of its opening in 1902There is still a way from Wanstead Park Road in Ilford via the recreation grounds and the Park by way of a nearby concrete bridge. Although this is perfectly satisfactory for cyclists - and indeed constitutes part of the London Cycle Network and the proposed Roding Valley Way - it is a poor substitute for pedestrians, who have to make a considerable detour just to get into Wanstead Park, with no indication that this is even possible.

The bridge is owned by the London Borough of Redbridge, and is managed by Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure, which is a Charitable Trust. The bridge was closed by officers from the Borough's Highways & Engineering Service following an inspection. This revealed the bridge to be unsafe. Although the structure is apparently sound, the deck and deck railings are in need of replacement.

wp coronation bridge 150520 5864artViewed from the Ilford side - barred to pedestriansIn early 2013 L.B. Redbridge stated that they were looking into having the bridge repaired as soon as possible, but that there was no funding within internal budgets for this. When it was asked whether external funding could be used to help finance the repair of the bridge, it was stated that as the bridge could not be used by cyclists due to the no-cycling regulations within Wanstead Park, no funding could be found. In other words, there was funding available for cyclists but not for pedestrians. This seems to illustrate quite well my concerns that pedestrians are increasingly being disadvantaged in favour of cyclists.

In March 2015 the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian said that following £105,000 of funding from the Mayor of London's Big Green Fund the Coronation Bridge would be reopened as part of the improvements to be made to open spaces along the River Roding. I wonder how long it will be before this happens?


Paul Ferris, 20th May 2015