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Albert Bridge

The Albert Bridge is a road bridge spanning the River Thames from Chelsea to Battersea in London, England, named in memory of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince Consort to Queen Victoria.

Although authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1864, construction did not commence until 1870, delayed by work on the Chelsea Embankment.

The bridge opened first on the 31st December 1872, soon thereafter closing to re-open on 23 August 1873. The designer was Rowland Mason Ordish, who conceived a rigid suspension bridge with a length of 710 feet, width of 41 ft. and a centre span of 400 ft. Construction costs are estimated at £90,000.

The Albert Bridge Company also owned the adjacent Battersea Bridge, but neither bridge generated sufficient toll income to cover their maintenance costs. In 1878, both were purchased by the Metropolitan Board of Works and both ceased to be toll bridges the following year.

In 1884 Sir Joseph Bazalgette strengthened and modernised Albert Bridge, rendering it more like a conventional suspension bridge.

The bridge came close to being replaced after World War II, but a concerted campaign led by, among others, Sir John Betjeman led to its conservation. In the 1970s, central supports were added by the Greater London Council to save the structure from collapse. Weight restrictions have been in place since Bazalgette’s time, as have notices urging soldiers from nearby Chelsea Barracks to break step when marching over the bridge for fear that vibrations caused by marching might damage the structure.

Featured prominently in 1998’s Sliding Doors staring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah.

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