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Westminster Bridge

General Information

Beginning of works: 1854
Completion: 24 May 1862
Status: in use

Project Type

Structure: Deck arch bridge
Function / usage: Road bridge
Material: Iron bridge

Location

Location: , , ,
, , ,
Crosses:
  • Thames River
Replaces: Westminster Bridge (1750)
Coordinates: 51° 30' 3.00" N    0° 7' 19.00" W
Show coordinates on a map

Technical Information

Dimensions

main span 35.05 m
width 26 m
total length 250 m
span lengths 28.96 - 35.05 m
number of spans 7

Cost

cost of construction Pound sterling 393 189 19s 2d

Materials

piers granite
arches wrought iron
piles wood
abutments granite
pile caps concrete

Chronology

1855

The original contractor, Mare & Co., goes bankrupt. The work is then carried out by assignees.

March 1856

Doubts arise over the soundness of Page's design for the foundations. A select committee is created chaired by Sir Benjamin Hall and hears experts during the course of two years with a first recommendation of substantial alterations which is later reduced to minor alterations. This sets back the works by nearly two years.

1 March 1860

The partially finished bridge is first put into service without great ceremony. Page and Mr. W. F. Cowper of the Office of Works merely walk across the bridge.

24 May 1862, 03:45

A twenty-five gun salute marks the opening of the fully completed Westminster Bridge. The unusual hour was chosed to mark the forty-third birthday of Queen Victoria while the number of guns marked the years of her reign.

1924

Repairs of cracked ribs on the arches.

2005
- 2007

The decorative cast-iron fascia girders are replaced due to significant deterioration. The new fascias are made of a structural steel support frame and an actual fascia made of more ductile cast iron. The replacement work is done under traffic both on the bridge and the river Thames from barges.

Foundations

Each of the piers is founded on 145 elm piles with a length of 32 feet and 14 inches square over an area of 110 by 17 feet. Around this area, Page had sheet iron piling installed that was strengthened by cylindrical piles and iron cross bracing as well as an outer concrete wall. After completion of this, the gravel was removed between the piles and replaced with concrete. In the concrete, flange plates were embedded to secure the first course of Bramley Fall stone.

Piers

On the massive foundations, the piers were built up using granite blocks weighing 20 to 30 tons. At the top of the piers, iron bed plates were installed as supports for the fifteen wrought-iron ribs from each arch span. The cast-iron castings for the spandrel walls and balustrateds were designed by Charles Barry in a Gothic style.

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Participants

Initial construction
Design
Architectural detailing
Renovation (2005-2007)
Owner
Design
Technical advisor to the owner
Project management

Relevant Web Sites

Relevant Publications

  • About this
    data sheet
  • Structure-ID
    20003158
  • Date created
    23/02/2002
  • Last Update
    31/01/2019