All photos of The Chelsea Bridge dated 2015-2016 are the actual ones and were taken with iPhone 5s.
With the growing population of Chelsea, Battersea Park was designed to provide space for the local residents. Battersea Bridge was worn out and the expected increase flow of visitors to Battersea Park, a new bridge was decided upon. The Chelsea Bridge connects the south eastern part of Battersea Park with Sloane Square in the borough of Chelsea.
The 1846 Act of Parliament authorized the creation of a new bridge which was designed as a suspension bridge by an engineer Thomas Page, as approved by the Metropolitan Improvement Commission. The works began in 1851 but there were several delays due to relocation of Chelsea Waterworks company, as well as the low transportation of various materials.
During the excavation, many pieces of Celtic and Roman artefacts, including Celtic La Tene style bronze and enamel Battersea Shield which is thought to be the most important Celtic military piece of equipment. Many historians also concluded that this was the site of crossing during Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain.
The bridge, to be called Victoria Bridge in honour of the reigning Queen was complete in 1858. A ceremony was held where Queen Victoria along with her two daughters crossed the bridge on 31 March 1858 declaring it official open en route to the official opening of Battersea Park.
The old bridge had a beautiful design with gilded towers decorated with lamp posts which would only be lit at night when Queen Victoria was in residence in London. Soon after opening the bridge, concerns were raised as to the stability of the bridge, and it was quickly renamed to Chelsea Bridge. Should there be an accident, there was no desire to associate the collapse with the Royal Name. PR has been practised for many centuries!
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It was unpopular with the public as it was a toll bridge and people had to pay to cross it. Demonstrations were held and less than a year after opening, Sundays were declared to be toll-free until abolishing tolls altogether.
Further growth of London and increased used of automobiles meant that the bridge was getting into poor state by the early 20th century. The Chelsea bridge as we know it today was built in 1937 and was opened by the Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon, who was visiting London for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
The Battersea Power Station which you can still see today was built nearby between 1929 and 1945 was considered to be reunion the view, and the design of the new bridge was very plain and utilitarian in sight.
In the 1950s, the Chelsea Bridge became popular as a racing venue on Friday nights for motocyclists until 17 October 1970 when the motorcyclists bands were involved in a confrontation that caused a death, and imprisonment of 20 gang members. Local residents were also not happy about all the noise that was caused by these meetings.
In the 1970s the Chelsea Bridge was painted red and white which of course caused an outrage from the Chelsea Football Club, but it was only in 2007 that the Bridge was repainted into red, white and blue. The Bridge is well lit with the light emitting diodes that are strung along the towers and suspension chains.
In 2008, the Chelsea Bridge was a Grade II listed structure and it will be difficult to alter its design in the future. It is intended that the bridge keeps its historical character.