Old Battersea Bridge

Old Battersea Bridge. T. R. Way. Signed and dated 1899. Lithograph. Source: Reliques of Old London, 57.

Commentary by H. B. Wheatley from Reliques of Old London

Old Battersea Bridge (leading from Chelsea to Battersea), a rude timber structure of nineteen spans which took the place of a ferry, was for more than a century a great obstruction to the navigation of the river, and with old Putney Bridge, which was equally inconvenient and nearly half a century older, was long the terror of boating men.

The bridge was built in 1771-72, under an Act of Parliament obtained in 1766, at the expense of fifteen proprietors who subscribed £1,500 apiece, Mr. Holland being the designer.

The spans varied in width from 15 feet 6 inches to 32 feet, and when the bridge was acquired by the company which crefted the Albert Bridge in 1873, four of the original spans were thrown into two; one of the enlarged spans measured 75 feet 3 bches, and the other 70 feet. These openings will be noticed in the drawing.

The greatest width of road was 23 feet 9 inches, but in parts the carriage way was only about 16 feet. The footpath on the up river side was in places only 2 feet wide, and on the down river side from 4 feet to 5 feet wide. . . . The present bridge was ereded to the east of the old bridge. It is a cast-iron structure upon stone pillars, of five spans, the centre being 173 feet wide, and the width of the roadway is 40 feet. The cost of the bridge was £143,000.

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Way, T. R., and H. B. Wheatley. Reliques of Old London upon the Banks of the Thames and in the Subburbs South of the River. London: George Bell and Sons, 1909. [title page] Internet Archive version of a copy in the Boston Public Library. Web. 22 April 2012.

Last modified 22 April 2012