|Opening Date||31 July 1890|
Battersea Bridge is a road bridge crossing of the River Thames in south-west London, linking Battersea south of the river with Chelsea to the north. Its 40 foot width makes it London's narrowest road vehicle bridge.
History[edit | edit source]
Until the late 18th century, a ferry service had operated across the river at this location, but an Act of Parliament in 1766 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. The bridge was the subject of paintings by Whistler and J. M. W. Turner.
Like other London toll bridges, Battersea Bridge was eventually bought by the Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW), 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 by John Mowlem & Co. from 1886, and opened on 31 July 1890 by Lord Rosebery. It is composed of five wrought iron and steel cantilever spans supported on granite piers.
On 20 September 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 several months while repairs could be carried out. The bridge was reopened to traffic on 16 January 2006, well ahead of the original schedule.
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See also Battersea Railway Bridge