Following the construction of Westminster Bridge in 1750, the population of the city grew eastwards and westwards along both banks of the river.
In the 19th century the suburbs of Fulham, in the north, and Battersea, in the south, had expanding populations.
Work began on the suspension bridge in 1851 to the designs of the engineer, Thomas Page. The ornate bridge had pairs of domed toll houses, encrusted with Gothic-syle decoration, at each end. In 1879 Chelsea Bridge became toll-free.
Although never formally named, the bridge was known as the Victoria for some years after its opening in 1858. The change of name coincided with fears over the bridge’s safety, and in 1880 the bridge was strengthened with additional chain, but only 40 years later it was recommended that the bridge should be completely replaced.
Demolition work in 1935, the new suspension bridge was given stronger foundations, set inside granite bored into the riverbed. The six-lane roadway of Chelsea Suspension Bridge is suspended using 37 galvanised steel wires. The bridge is embellished with lampstands decorated with golden galleons.
Because the construction work used Douglas Fir from British Colombia in Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada, W.L Mackenzie King, opened the bridge in 1937.