Sunday, February 11

Battersea Bridge

The bridge, in south-west London, links Battersea south of the river with Chelsea to the north. Its 40 foot width makes it London's narrowest road vehicle bridge. 

Until the late 18th century, a ferry service had operated across the river at this location, but an Act of Parliament in 1776 authorised construction of a toll bridge. A group of fifteen investors financed this first bridge, at a cost of £15,000. Designed by a Henry Holland, the bridge was composed of 19 narrow wooden spans, making it difficult for river traffic to pass through. The ceremonial opening was in November 1771, but regular traffic first moved across the bridge in 1772. 

In 1795, some of the wooden spans were replaced by iron girder sections, creating spans almost double the size of the wooden ones. Like other London toll bridges, Battersea Bridge was eventually bought by the Metropolitan Board of Works, closed in 1883 and subsequently demolished in 1885, to be replaced by the current bridge. 

This was designed by MBW chief engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette , constructed from 1886 and opened by on 1890. It is composed of five wrought iron and steel cantilever spans supported on granite piers. On September 20, 2005, the bridge was struck by a gravel-carrying barge, which became stuck underneath one of the arches. The collision caused significant damage, requiring the bridge to be closed for a period predicted to be weeks if not months while repairs could be carried out.

My photo faces north towards Chelsea.