In 1809 an Act of Parliament
authorised one more bridge, and Vauxhall Bridge was conceived
as part of a great new thoroughfare from Hyde Park Corner
In 1811 the foundation stone
was laid by Lord Thomas Dundas, standing in for the Prince
Regent. Originally named Regent's Bridge, the name Vauxhall
Bridge was restored during construction. Designed by
the engineer James Walker, this was the first iron bridge
to span the Thames.
The nine-arched cast-iron structure
stood in deeply embedded stone, faced with granite, 809 ft
and 36 ft wide. Tolls were charged after the bridge
opened in 1816 but in 1879 these were abolished.
Tidal scour had made the piers
in a dangerous condition. Repairs to the bridge were
too expensive but the construction of a new bridge was delayed. A
temporary wooden bridge was thrown out across the river and
demolition work began in 1898.
However, work on the new structure
did not begin until 1904. The present bridge five-arch
steel bridge was designed by Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice. The
five spans make up a crossing of 809 ft, with a width of 80
Vauxhall Bridge was opened in
1906 by the Prince of Wales (later George V). The
bridge was the first in London to carry trams.
Bridge is unique in having its piers decorated by heroic-sized
Sculpted by Frederick Pomeroy
and Alfred Drury, these female figures represent the Arts
and Sciences. The figures facing downstream, towards
Westminster, represent Local Government, ducation, the Fine
Arts, and Astronomy. Facing upstream away from London
are figures representing Agriculture, holding a scythe,
Architecture, holding a model of St Paul's Cathedral, Engineering,
holding an engine and Pottery, holding a vase.