About the Thames

Section 9 – Chelsea to Westminster

Researched and written by Jeannette Briggs with photos by RTG 

Chelsea Bridge

Chelsea Bridge (headroom 21’8") is next, followed by the notorious Grosvenor Railway Bridge (headroom 19’8") – this is in fact two bridges disguised as one. They were built in 1858 – 1866 of cast iron, which has since been faced with concrete in 1963, and they carry railway lines to Victoria Station.

Grosvenor Rail Bridge - Photo by SW

Following downstream, the next bridge we see is Vauxhall Bridge (headroom 18’4") – this was originally built in 1816 as London’s first iron bridge. It was replaced in 1895 by a five arched steel structure designed by Alexander Binnie.


Vauxhall Bridge

 After this Lambeth Bridge (headroom 21’4") comes to view – a ferry to carry horses and large carriages was originally at this point on the Thames, which gave its name to the adjacent Horseferry Road. This ferry closed down, and the present bridge was built of steel to the designs of Humphries and Blomfield and opened in 1932. 


Above, one of the four massive pillars marking the start and end of Lambeth bridge leading from Lambeth Palace on the South side to Millbank.

Lambeth Bridge

Finally on this stretch of the river we see the famous Westminster Bridge (headroom 17’8").

Westminster Bridge Pillars at the start of Westminster Bridge 

This bridge is known all over the World thanks to the poem by William Wordsworth, which is entitled "Lines Written on Westminster Bridge" and which goes "Earth has not anything to show more fair……" The bridge which YOU see is not the one which Wordsworth crossed. It was built in 1854 to the design of Sir Charles Barry, who was also responsible for the adjacent Houses of Parliament, so it provides a harmonious and complete picture, made famous by millions of photographs taken by the tourists every year.

                      Reasearched and Written by Jeannette Briggs      


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