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Battersea bridge (part two)
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The bridge was bought in 1873 by its competitor, the Albert Bridge Company, and its architect, R. M. Ordish, strengthened the foundations with concrete.

In 1879 it was bought by the Metropolitan Board of Works, who freed it from toll later the same year. During the previous thirty years there had been many calls for the dilapidated old bridge to be demolished, and an inspection now showed that it was in such a poor state that it would have to be replaced. From 1883 it was reduced to being a footbridge, and in 1885, after a temporary bridge had been built alongside it, it was demolished to make way for a new iron bridge designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. In June 1887 Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, laid the foundation stone in the southern abutment. The new structure consists of five segmental cast- iron arches, supported by granite piers on concrete foundations. The roadway is 24 feet wide, and two footpaths 8 feet wide are cantilevered out from the roadway, giving a total width of 40 feet.The cast-iron parapets are of a rather unusual Moorish design. The bridge was officially opened on 21 July 1890 by Lord Rosebery, Chairman of the London County Council. The old bridge was often referred to as Chelsea Bridge and appears with both names on maps of the period, but the new one was officially called Battersea Bridge.

Despite the narrowness of the bridge, trams operated over it from early on; at first these were horse trams, but from 1911 electric trams were introduced. In 1951 a barge rammed the bridge, causing considerable damage, and the tram tracks were the only thing keeping the bridge intact. No more trams crossed the bridge after this accident.

The bridge’s current colour scheme of green and gold dates from a major facelift carried out in 1992—94 (since the mid 1980s it had been a rather drab blue and red) .This returned the bridge to its original look, following analysis of paint samples taken by English Heritage. The details of the spandrel decoration stand out most attractively in their gold paint. The original lamp standards on the bridge had been removed during the Second World War and, as part of the renovations, they were replaced with replicas, copied from the only remaining originals at each end of the bridge.


Battersea bridge (part two)

Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge by James McNeill Whistler, painted around 1872. This famous image is highly stylised and is clearly not a realistic image of the bridge.


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