In 1766 an Act of Parliament was passed authorising Earl Spencer to construct a bridge across the Thames at Battersea.
The earl, who operated a ferry here, could not raise sufficient funds to span the river with stone and as a result the bridge was build with timber. The bridge had 19 spans and was built in 1771 – 72, but was extremely unpopular because its narrow spans made navigation very difficult. River traffic often collided with the bridge and many people were drowned.
The Board’s engineer, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, designed a new five-span bridge. After a temporary bridge was completed in 1885, work on the new bridge in 1886. The wrought-iron and steel cantilever bridge has five segmental spans. With two footpaths, the bridge has a total width of 55 ft.0