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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