Battersea Bridge

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London

Battersea Bridge

Battersea Bridge is a road bridge linking Battersea and Chelsea, designed by Sir Joseph Bazal­gette and built in cast iron and granite.

A privately-owned wooden toll bridge opened here in 1771 and survived – despite its dete­ri­o­rating condition and a design that made it dangerous to river traffic – until it was taken into public ownership, demol­ished and replaced by the present crossing, which opened in 1890.

The bridge was desig­nated a grade II listed structure in 1983, which means it is unlikely to be removed or signif­i­cantly altered, despite being imprac­ti­cably narrow for some modern purposes. Battersea Bridge was restored to its original appear­ance under the auspices of English Heritage in 1992.

The old wooden bridge was the subject of several paintings by James McNeill Whistler, including Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Old Battersea Bridge, which hangs in Tate Britain, and Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket, in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.”

John Ruskin on Whistler’s Nocturne in Black and Gold (1877)

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