Bridge of Sighs, Oxford

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Hertford Bridge, often called the Bridge of Sighs, is a skyway joining two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane in Oxford, England. Its distinctive design makes it a city landmark.

Hertford Bridge
Hertford Bridge from Catte Street
Bridge of Sighs, Oxford is located in Oxford city centre
Bridge of Sighs, Oxford
Location within Oxford city centre
Alternative namesBridge of Sighs
General information
TypeCovered bridge
LocationHertford College, Oxford
Coordinates51°45′16″N 1°15′14″W / 51.75447°N 1.25389°W / 51.75447; -1.25389
Design and construction
Architect(s)Thomas Graham Jackson

Misnomer and myth

Hertford Bridge, looking towards Catte Street, with the Sheldonian Theatre in the background

The bridge is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because of its supposed similarity to the better known Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

There is a false legend saying that many decades ago, a survey of the health of students was taken, and as Hertford College's students were the heaviest, the college closed off the bridge to force them to take the stairs, giving them extra exercise. However, if the bridge is not used, the students actually climb fewer stairs than if they do use the bridge.[1]



The bridge links together the Old and New Quadrangles of Hertford College (to the south and the north respectively), and much of its current architecture was designed by Sir Thomas Jackson. It was completed in 1914, despite its construction being opposed by New College.[2]

The building on the southern side of the bridge houses the college's administrative offices, whereas the northern building is mostly student accommodation. The bridge is always open to members of the college, who can often be seen crossing it. The bridge is Grade II listed.[3]

A close up of the coat of arms on Hertford Bridge

See also



  1. ^ Fun Fact (#16) about the Bridge.
  2. ^ "Notes from Oxford". The Athenaeum. No. 4453. London. 1 March 1913. p. 254. Retrieved 28 March 2019. Hertford College is to have its Bridge of Sighs at last... if only New College would withdraw its opposition to the scheme.
  3. ^ "Hertford College, Bridge over New College Lane: A Grade II Listed Building in Oxford, Oxfordshire". British Listed Buildings. UK. Retrieved 25 August 2017.