Looking downstream from the South Bank at low tide.
The first bridge on this site was erected by Earl Spencer in 1766 after permission was granted by Act of Parliament to replace his previous ferry. It had 19 wooden spans and was a considerable hazard to the river traffic, being very difficult to navigate. Many people drowned over the years during collisions with the bridge. It was altered many times before the old bridge was replaced by the current model. This was designed as a five span cantilever bridge by Sir Joseph Bazalgette for the Metropolitan Board of Works and opened in the late 1880s.