An engineering and business failure but romantic and heritage triumph
As a business venture connecting traffic and transport business between Chelsea and Battersea the Albert Bridge was a monumental failure. It did not pay its way.
The crossing was in the wrong place for commuting traffic.
In any event with the development of municipal local government, toll charging was not what the ratepayers of a fashionable and modern suburb of London wanted.
And working people, many of whom travelled from South London to the North, resented having to pay extra on their bus and taxi fares or even when simply walking.
In engineering terms it was a problem from its opening in 1873.
The iron rusted. Repairs started in 1884.
The traffic when motorised in the early 20th century became too heavy for it. A five ton limit was imposed even before the turn of the 20th century. In 1935 this was reduced to two tons.
The perfect mark of a suspension bridge’s lack of success apart from total collapse, is the construction of two concrete piers under its middle span in 1973 to stop it from falling down.
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