Bridge of Sighs in Oxford celebrates centenary

Bridge of Sighs, Oxford The Bridge of Sighs was built in 1913 but is officially called Hertford Bridge

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The Bridge of Sighs in Oxford is marking its centenary with a special sound installation for passers-by.

The bridge that links quads of the university's Hertford College will feature a composition of sighs recorded by students and members of staff.

Composer Benjamin Skipp described it as "modern, strange and new".

The 100-year-old bridge was a regular backdrop in the Inspector Morse TV series and featured in 2011 superhero film X Men First Class.

'Love and frustration'

Hertford College principal Will Hutton said the bridge had become a landmark for Oxford because "it's plum centre in the city, it's beautiful and it's a rather unique structure - rearing over the pedestrians below".

He said the city's planners decided on a bridge to link two quads to the master quad because it would be "less disruptive than a tunnel".

The sound installation entitled Sospiri, meaning "sighs" in Italian, will be played underneath the bridge on Friday and Saturday.

A popular Oxford landmark

  • The bridge is popularly known as the Bridge Of Sighs but is officially called Hertford Bridge
  • It is not based on the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy, according to Hertford College
  • The bridge was designed by Sir Thomas Jackson, the architect who designed other college buildings
  • The bridge links Hertford's main quadrangle with its New Buildings quadrangle

But it has already received "strange looks" from passers-by during the practice run said Dr Skipp, also Hertford's music tutor.

The work is meant to evoke imagined "sighs of love and frustration" emitted around the bridge by amorous students or those worrying about exams, he added.

The celebrations will also include the premiere of a short film about Hertford College by Bafta-winning film producer - and honorary Hertfordian - Anthony Geffen, as well as a talk on the history of the bridge.

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