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Inventory Site Record

Battersea Bridge Gardens (Kensington & Chelsea)

Brief Description

Battersea Bridge Gardens is a small riverside garden at the foot of Battersea Bridge created when the Thames was embanked to designs of Sir Joseph Bazalgette from 1869 The Embankment was completed as far as Battersea Bridge by 1874. Despite an Enabling Bill introduced by the LCC in 1896, due to local objections, the riverside west of the bridge was not embanked at that time. The garden has raised beds, seating, curved path, areas of grass and a number of trees including a mulberry tree. In 2005 a statue of James McNeill Whistler by Nicholas Dimbleby was erected in the garden, commissioned by the Chelsea Arts Club.

Practical Information
Site location:
Cheyne Walk/Chelsea Embankment/Battersea Bridge
Postcode:
SW3
What 3 Words:
punchy.began.danger
Type of site:
Public Gardens
Borough:
Kensington & Chelsea
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport:
Tube: Sloane Square (District, Circle), Fulham Broadway (District) then bus.
Research updated:
01/05/2013
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.tfl.gov.uk

Full Site Description

These small gardens at the foot of Battersea Bridge were among a number of riverside gardens created after the Thames was embanked by Sir Joseph Bazalgette in 1874. Embankment of the river was first proposed in 1839 by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to provide a much-needed new road as well as extra sewerage, but work did not begin until the 1850s along the Pimlico frontage. Lack of funding halted the scheme until 1871 when William Webster was appointed as contractor under the supervision of Bazalgette, Chief Engineer to the Metropolitan Board of Works, which had been set up in 1855. The work was completed as far as Battersea Bridge by 1874. Chelsea Embankment was officially opened in May 1874 by Lieutenant Col Sir James MacNaughton Hogg, Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The embankment west of Battersea Bridge was not embanked despite an Enabling Bill introduced by the London County Council in 1896 due to strong objections locally and the Chelsea Vestry carried out minor improvements at the time; in the 1950s the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea undertook further improvements.

The gardens alongside the bridge add a splash of colour with raised beds and bedding to the road, seating and a curved path with crazy paving, areas of grass with a number of trees and a railed area to the west, which has a mulberry tree. A statue of James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was commissioned from sculptor Nicholas Dimbleby following a competition by the Chelsea Arts Club and unveiled in September 2005. This bronze statue on a granite plinth overlooks that part of the river Thames known as 'Whistler’s Reach' on the north side of Battersea Bridge. He was one of a number of artists including J M W Turner and John Sell Cotman who famously painted the old Battersea Bridge, London's last surviving wooden bridge on the Thames. Whistler's controversial and influential painting 'Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge' was painted in 1872-5. In 1879 the old bridge was taken into public ownership, and was demolished in 1885 and replaced with the existing bridge.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed); Thames Conservation Area Proposals Statement

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ269774 (526910,177460)
Size in hectares:
0.0662
Site ownership:
RB Kensington & Chelsea
Site management:
Transport for London
Date(s):
1874; mid C20th
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBII: Battersea Bridge
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Thames
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Metropolitan Importance (Thames)
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Archaeological Priority Area (Thames)
Other LA designation:
Thames Policy Area. Thames Path. Area of Metropolitan Importance

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.