1825 a suspension bridge was designed by William Tierney Clark, who lived in the area and was Engineer to the West Middlesex Water Works Company. This was the first suspension bridge over the Thames.
To mark the start of the project, the design of which was approved by Thomas Telford, the Duke of Sussex fixed a brass plate to one of the foundation cofferdams. Clark estimated the cost of the bridge to be around £50,000.
The bridge was supported by two masonry river piers, founded on timber piles, with a clear waterway between them of 200 ft (122m). Ironwork was by Gospel Oak Ironworks, Birmingham; stonework was by G.W. & S. Bird, Hammersmith; decking/fencing by E.J. Lance, Lewisham
Above the piers were two towers with Tuscan-style arched entrances. Eight chains of wrought iron links hung from the towers, supporting the timber deck. The chain links had a cross section of 5" by 1" (127mm by 25mm). The carriageway was 20 ft (6.1m) wide with two 1.5m wide pavements, although narrower under the arches. The bridge was completed in 1827.
1869 Strength tests on the chains proved satisfactory.
1884 A temporary bridge was put in place because of heavier traffic. Clark's suspension bridge was reconstructed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette based on Clark's river piers.
After the 1827 bridge was dismantled, chain links were used to aid construction of the Forth Bridge (not as part of the bridge, but for rigging, construction of temporary working platforms, etc).
Sources of Information
- Engineering Timelines