Bridge of Sighs, Oxford
The Bridge of Sighs, also known as Hertford Bridge, is a small but stunning piece of architecture that dominates the view down New College Lane in Oxford. The bridge (or sky-way) arches majestically over the lane, connecting the old and the new sections of Hertford College - the older south building and the more recent north section respectively. It was completed in 1914, and though not a particularly large monument (compared to some), its stunning, distinctive beauty and impeccable design have made it a much loved city landmark.
Though its given name is Hertford Bridge, it is often referred to as the 'Bridge of Sighs' because of its similarity to a sky-way of the same name in Venice, that was built three centuries earlier. These similarities are very vauge however - the bridges do not share the same colour, shape or even decoration - they are both simply small, beautifully designed sky-ways. In terms of shape and design, the Hertford bridge actually has much more in common with the Venetian 'Rialto' bridge built in 1591.
There is a fable (that most now know to be untrue) which claims that decades ago, after a comprehensive survey on student health, Hertford College's students were found to weigh more than those from any other College. It is said that, as a result, the College blocked off access to the sky-way completely, thereby forcing its students to use the stairs and lose the weight. However, it has been ascertained that by closing off the bridge, students would actually need to climb fewer steps than if it were open! And so the fable was proven to be just that - a fable.
Oxfords Bridge of Sighs is still used by the College students on a daily basis, and they can often been seen walking through its magnificence.