Albert Bridge facts for kids
|Heritage status||Grade II* listed structure|
|Design||Suspension bridge / Beam bridge hybrid design|
|Total length||710 feet (220 m)|
|Width||41 feet (12 m)|
|Height||66 feet (20 m)|
|Longest span||384 feet 9 inches (117.27 m) (before 1973),
185 feet (56 m) (after 1973)
|Number of spans||4 (3 before 1973)|
|Piers in water||6 (4 before 1973)|
|Clearance below||37 feet 9 inches (11.5 m) at lowest astronomical tide|
|Designer||Rowland Mason Ordish, Joseph Bazalgette|
|Opened||23 August 1873|
|Daily traffic||19,821 vehicles (2004)|
Albert Bridge was designed and built in 1873 as a cable-stayed bridge, it proved to be structurally unsound. Between 1884 and 1887 Sir Joseph Bazalgette added some elements of a suspension bridge. More work was done in 1973. As a result, the bridge today is a hybrid of three different design styles.
Built as a toll bridge, it was unsuccessful. Six years after its opening it was taken into public ownership, and the tolls were lifted. The tollbooths remained in place, and are the only surviving examples of bridge tollbooths in London. Its nickname is 'The Trembling Lady' because of its tendency to vibrate when large numbers of people walked over it. Signs at the entrances warn troops from the nearby Chelsea Barracks to break step while crossing the bridge.
With a roadway only 27 feet (8.2 m) wide, and with serious structural weaknesses, the bridge was ill-equipped to cope with motor traffic. Despite this, Albert Bridge has remained open to vehicles, apart from brief spells for repairs. It is one of only two Thames road bridges in central London which have never been replaced.
The strengthening work did not prevent further decay of the bridge's structure. Strict traffic control limits its use and prolongs its life. It is the least busy Thames road bridge in London except for Southwark Bridge. The bridge's condition continues to get worse as the result of traffic. Also, severe rotting of the timber deck is caused by the urine of dogs using it as a route to nearby Battersea Park.
In 1992 Albert Bridge was rewired and painted in an unusual colour scheme designed to make it easy to see, and avoid being hit by shipping. At night it is lit by 4,000 bulbs, making it one of West London's most striking landmarks.
Albert Bridge Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.