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Chelsea Bridge (1937)
River Thames, Chelsea, London
Chelsea Bridge (1937)
associated engineer
Rendel, Palmer & Tritton
date  1934 - 1937
era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  TQ284778
ICE reference number  HEW 2341
photo  Jane Joyce
The present Chelsea Bridge was the first suspension bridge of the self-anchored type to be designed in Britain and it represented a major step forward in British bridge engineering. Indeed, it was the most important suspension bridge built in this country between the two World Wars.
In designing the bridge, its engineers used the latest analytical techniques, which had been developed by American and European designers in the preceeeding 40 years.
This bridge is the second suspension bridge to be constructed on this site. The first, designed by Thomas Page, was completed in 1858 but by the 1920s was considered inadequate for London traffic. The financial crisis at that time delayed the building of a replacement until the 1930s.
The foundations and piers for the new bridge are located in similar positions to that of the old. However, they are completely new. Steel sheet-pile coffer dams were installed to hold the water back while they were constructed. The piers are made of concrete, encased in granite.
The main suspension cables are made of 37 locked coil steel ropes bundled together to form a hexagon in section. High tensile steel was used for the wires and for the flanges of the stiffening girders one of the earliest applications of this type of steel, pre-dating the British Standard.
The towers supporting the cables are constructed in steel box plate. They sit on rocker bearings directly on top of the piers. The rocker bearings can be seen in the picture above, under the bridge, atop the piers.
Design engineers: Ernest James Buckton, Harry John Fereday
Contractor: Holloway Brothers
Steelwork: Furness Shipbuilding
Cables: Wright's Ropes Ltd
reference sources   CEH Lond
Location

Chelsea Bridge (1937)