This bridge was originally projected by Ralph Dodd, the father of the engineer above alluded to; and to explain the reason why the name of some branch of this family is so frequently mentioned, it ought to be stated, that scarcely any public work was suggested about ten or fifteen years ago, that did not proceed from some of them. With the actual building of this bridge, Ralph Dodd had little or nothing to do. Some subscriptions were received, and the building of a bridge on the present site of Vauxhall Bridge was determined on; but in the co-operation of this, Mr. Dodd was, on account of some disagreements, dispensed with. Mr. Rennie, the Waterloo Bridge engineer, followed. An immense quantity of good stone was bought ; laborious efforts were made to build the piers, &c.; but thousands of pounds were expended to no purpose. The completion of the bridge was interrupted till Mr. Walker was engaged; and the result was, the building of the present elegant iron bridge. The whole expense of building was within 150,000l.; and much more is said to have been preciously expended in vain. The bridge, however, has a good appearance, together with excellent roads leading to it; and what is more satisfactory, especially to shareholders, the receipts already please the proprietors.
The first stone of the bridge was laid in the year 1813, by prince Charles, the eldest son of the late duke of Brunswick; and the present beautiful erection was completed in 1816. It consists of nine cast-iron arches, with piers formed by a wooden frame as a foundation, faced with Kentish ragstone, and Roman cement. It contributes greatly to the beauty of the approaches to the metropolis, and will doubtless eventually occasion considerable improvements in a variety of important respects, by the easy communication which it opens to the inhabitants south of the Thames, with the houses of parliament and courts of law; and also through Tothill Fields, with Pimlico, Chelsea, and their populous neighbourhoods.
Source: Leigh's New Picture of London. Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand;
by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819