Essential Architecture-  London

Vauxhall Bridge


Sir Alexander Binnie


over the Thames, London. On the north bank is Westminster, with Tate Britain and the Millbank Tower to the north-east, and Pimlico and its tube station to the north and east.






80ft wide by 809ft long, has five steel arches mounted on granite piers, with a series of bronze female figures on the bridge abutments commemorating the arts and sciences.


  Vauxhall bridge looking downstream from the north bank. (January 2006)
  One of the eight Vauxhall Bridge figures, here depicting Fine Art. (October 2005)
  The Vauxhall Bridge in 1829
  Image copyright Doug Myers
Vauxhall Bridge is a steel arched bridge for road and foot traffic, crossing the River Thames in a north-west south-east orientation, between Lambeth Bridge and Grosvenor Bridge, in central London.

On the south bank, Vauxhall Cross, site of Vauxhall station and the headquarters of MI6, lies immediately to the south-east; Kennington is to the east, Vauxhall to the south-east and Nine Elms to the south west.

The River Effra, one of the Thames's many underground tributaries, empties into the main river just to the east of the bridge on the south bank.


The current bridge was designed by Sir Alexander Binnie, with modifications by Maurice Fitzmaurice, to replace a previous cast-iron structure.

It was completed in 1906, and opened on the May 26 by the Prince of Wales, and was the first bridge to carry trams across the Thames. It measures 80ft wide by 809ft long, has five steel arches mounted on granite piers, and its most striking feature is a series of bronze female figures on the bridge abutments, both upstream and downstream, commemorating the arts and sciences.

The previous bridge was the nine-span Regent's Bridge, designed by James Walker and opened in 1816 as a toll-bridge. The history leading up to the construction of this bridge was tortuous with at least three aborted designs rejected, two by John Rennie—first a seven-span stone bridge, and then a design with eleven cast-iron arches—and one by Sir Samuel Bentham.

Walker's nine-span structure was the first iron-built bridge over the Thames in London, but it lasted less than 90 years. Tidal scour undermined the bridge's piers and these were too expensive to replace. A temporary wooden bridge was constructed across the river and demolition work began in 1898, but construction of the Binnie bridge did not start until 1904.