The Albert Bridge

This is probably one of the more unusual and iconic bridges across the Thames. Rowland Mason Ordish created a bridge that consisted of half suspension and half cantilevered design. It used steel rods in stead of the more traditional chains. It opened in 1873, despite opposition from the operators of the nearby Battersea Bridge. Most of London's bridges were privately owned and fees charged to cross the river. Tolls were charged for the first six years of the Albert Bridge's life, before the Metropolitan Board of Works bought the crossing and ceased the charges. The toll booths still remain in place.

This much loved, pastel painted bridge has suffered over the years; its construction has not been able to withstand the rigours and motor vehicles of the twentieth century and it has been threatened with replacement several times. Soldiers marching to or from the Chelsea Barracks were instructed to break step when crossing the bridge otherwise the constant vibration could set up a resonance frequency that could break the bridge. A similar problem occurred when the Millennium Bridge opened in 2000.

During the latter part of the twentieth century weight limits and a traffic 'tidal flow' system were placed on vehicles using the bridge plus a central pier added to support the crossing. The bridge still survives and is best viewed at night when it is lit up with chains of LEDs.

The bridge has appeared as a backdrop in many films including A Clockwork Orange and Absolute Beginners.

Pen and ink on cartridge plus photoshoppery.

Albert Bridge