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Engineer Thomas Page was appointed to build the bridge, and presented several potential designs, including a seven-span stone bridge, a five-span cast iron arch bridge, and a suspension bridge.
1851 The Commission selected the suspension bridge design, and work began in 1851 on the new bridge, to be called the Victoria Bridge.
Page's design was typical of suspension bridges of the period, and consisted of a wrought iron deck and four 97-foot cast iron towers supporting chains, which in turn supported the weight of the deck. The towers rested on a pair of timber and cast iron piers. The towers passed through the deck, meaning that between the towers the road was 7 feet narrower than on the rest of the bridge.
Although work had begun in 1851 delays in the closure of the Chelsea Waterworks, which only completed its relocation to Seething Wells in 1856, caused lengthy delays to the project, and the Edinburgh-made ironwork was only transported to the site in 1856.