Victoria Embankment is part of the Thames Embankment, a road and river-walk along the north bank of the River Thames in London. It runs from the Palace of Westminster to Blackfriars Bridge in the City of London.
As well as being a major thoroughfare for road traffic between the City of Westminster and the City of London, it is noted for several memorials, such as the Battle of Britain Monument, permanently berthed retired vessels, such as HMS President, and public gardens, including Victoria Embankment Gardens.
The Victoria Embankment's construction started in 1865 and was completed in 1870 under the direction of Joseph Bazalgette. It was one element of a three-part work, the other two parts being the Albert Embankment, from the Lambeth end of Westminster Bridge to Vauxhall; and the Chelsea Embankment, extending from Millbank to the Cadogan Pier at Chelsea, close by Battersea Bridge.It was a project of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The contractor for the work was Thomas Brassey. The original impetus was the need to provide London with a modern sewerage system. Another major consideration was the relief of congestion on the Strand and Fleet Street.
The project involved building out on to the foreshore of the River Thames, narrowing the river. The construction work required the purchase and demolition of much expensive riverside property. The cut-and-cover tunnel for the District Railway was built within the Embankment and roofed over to take the roadway. The embankment was faced with granite, and penstocks, designed to open at ebb tide to release diluted sewage when rainstorms flooded the system, were built into it as a means of preventing backups in the drainage system and of periodically flushing the mud banks.
At ground level, in addition to the new roads, two public gardens were laid out. One of these backs onto the government buildings of Whitehall, and the other stretches from Hungerford Bridge to Waterloo Bridge. The gardens contain many statues, including a monument to Bazalgette. The section of the gardens between Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross station also includes a large bandstand, where musical performances are given, and the 1626 watergate of the former York House built for the first Duke of Buckingham.
The Victoria section was the most complex of the three sections. It was much larger, more complex and more significant to the metropolis than the other two and officially opened on 13 July 1870 by the Prince of Wales and Princess Louise.When people refer to "the Embankment" they are usually referring to that portion of it. The total cost of the construction of the Victoria Embankment is estimated to be £1,260,000 and the purchase of property at £450,000. The total cost includes the cost of materials used in the construction of the embankment.
Construction of the Victoria Embankment proved to be difficult because of the grandness of it. Parliament was assured that three years would be ample time to complete the project, which did not hold true.
In addition to not having a large enough labour force to complete the work on schedule, the project's architect and property appraiser were challenged in successfully securing rights to all the wharves and other property that were required for access and storage during the project's construction. They also ran into difficulty in acquiring contracts to maintain access to the steamboat landings at Westminster and Hungerford.
In addition, extra time and money were spent experimenting with a new type of cofferdam, a structure used to keep water out of the construction site, which was crucial for building along the tidal Thames.
In December 1878 Victoria Embankment became the first street in Britain to be permanently lit by electricity.The light was provided by 20 Yablochkov candles powered by a Gramme DC generator. 16 March 1879 the system was extended to 40 lamps and 10 October to 55 lamps. Previously the street had been lit by gas, and in June 1884, gas lighting was re-established as electricity was not competitive.
The Victoria Embankment (part of the A3211 road) starts at Westminster Bridge, just north of the Palace of Westminster, then follows the course of the north bank, past Hungerford Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, before ending at Blackfriars Bridge in the City. Shell Mex House, the Savoy Hotel and Savoy Place are located between the Embankment and the Strand.
London Underground stations along Victoria Embankment are Westminster, Embankment, Charing Cross, Temple and Blackfriars. The former Aldwych station (closed in 1994) was also located nearby. London Buses route N550 is the only bus route along the Embankment, providing an overnight service when the tube is shut. Victoria Embankment was also the southern end of the Kingsway Tramway Subway. It was also used by trams as a loop right up until the end of the original tramway system in London in 1952.
London River Services boat services operate from Westminster Millennium Pier, Embankment Pier and Blackfriars Millennium Pier at points along Victoria Embankment. Pleasure cruises operate from Savoy Pier.
London's East-West Cycle Superhighway 3, a kerb-protected cycle track across London, runs along most of the Victoria Embankment: it opened in 2016.
Cycle Superhighway 3 (CS3)
The embankments were designed as a contribution to "the appropriate, and appropriately civilized, cityscape for a prosperous commercial society." John Thwaites, the chair of the Metropolitan Board of Works, made note that the embankments were an important step in making London recognised as an exemplary imperial city, and that the embankments were the greatest public work to be taken in London. This imperial power was represented in the embankments' grandeur and could be seen in the way they controlled nature, linking the local experience of nature in London to the global rivalries of imperial powers. On the river side, new steamboat piers and landing stairs were designed for river access. Above ground were tree lined roadway and pedestrian walkways, surfaced with York paving stone and decorative gaslight posts for the top of the wall.
Ships permanently moored by Victoria Embankment include HMS President, HQS Wellington, and PS Tattershall Castle.
Other notable attractions include the General Charles Gordon Memorial, Royal Air Force Memorial, National Submarine War Memorial, Battle of Britain Monument, Cleopatra's Needle and the modernistic Cleopatra's Kiosk.
Blackfriars Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames in London, between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge, carrying the A201 road. The north end is near the Inns of Court and Temple Church, along with Blackfriars station. The south end is near the Tate Modern art gallery and the Oxo Tower.
South Bank is an entertainment and commercial district in central London, next to the River Thames opposite the City of Westminster. It forms a narrow strip of riverside land within the London Borough of Lambeth and the London Borough of Southwark,. As such, South Bank may be regarded as somewhat akin to the riverside part of an area known previously as Lambeth Marsh and North Lambeth.
Embankment is a London Underground station in the City of Westminster, known by various names during its history. It is served by the Circle, District, Northern and Bakerloo lines. On the Bakerloo line and the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line, the station is between Waterloo and Charing Cross stations; on the Circle and District lines, it is between Westminster and Temple and is in Travelcard Zone 1. The station has two entrances, one on Victoria Embankment and the other on Villiers Street. The station is adjacent to Victoria Embankment Gardens and is close to Charing Cross station, Embankment Pier, Hungerford Bridge, Cleopatra's Needle, the Royal Air Force Memorial, the Savoy Chapel and Savoy Hotel and the Playhouse and New Players Theatres.
Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, CB was a 19th-century English civil engineer. As chief engineer of London's Metropolitan Board of Works his major achievement was the creation of a sewer network for central London which was instrumental in relieving the city from cholera epidemics, while beginning to clean the River Thames.
Waterloo Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge crossing the River Thames in London, between Blackfriars Bridge and Hungerford Bridge. Its name commemorates the victory of the British, Dutch and Prussians at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Thanks to its location at a strategic bend in the river, the views from the bridge are widely held to be the finest from any spot in London at ground level.
The Hungerford Bridge crosses the River Thames in London, and lies between Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge. Owned by Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd it is a steel truss railway bridge flanked by two more recent, cable-stayed, pedestrian bridges that share the railway bridge's foundation piers, and which are named the Golden Jubilee Bridges.
The Thames Embankment is a work of 19th-century civil engineering that reclaimed marshy land next to the River Thames in central London. It consists of the Victoria Embankment and Chelsea Embankment.
The Great Stink was an event in central London in July and August 1858 during which the hot weather exacerbated the smell of untreated human waste and industrial effluent that was present on the banks of the River Thames. The problem had been mounting for some years, with an ageing and inadequate sewer system that emptied directly into the Thames. The miasma from the effluent was thought to transmit contagious diseases, and three outbreaks of cholera before the Great Stink were blamed on the ongoing problems with the river.
Albert Embankment is part of the river bank on the south side of the River Thames in Central London. It stretches approximately one mile (1.6 km) northward from Vauxhall Bridge to Westminster Bridge, and is located in the London Borough of Lambeth.
Tower Millennium Pier is a pier on the River Thames, in Tower Hill, London, UK. It is operated by London River Services and served by various river transport and cruise operators. The pier is close to Tower Bridge and is situated immediately adjacent to the southwest corner of the Tower of London.
Victoria Tower Gardens is a public park along the north bank of the River Thames in London. As its name suggests, is adjacent to the Victoria Tower, the south-western corner of the Palace of Westminster. The park, which extends southwards from the Palace to Lambeth Bridge, sandwiched between Millbank and the river, also forms part of the Thames Embankment.
The Tideway is the part of the River Thames in England that is subject to tides. This stretch of water is downstream from Teddington Lock and in its widest definition is just under 26 kilometres (16 mi) long. The Tideway includes the Thames Estuary, the Thames Gateway and the Pool of London.
Cleopatra's Kiosk is a small building and shop, on the Victoria Embankment, London, under the Hungerford Bridge. Built in the late 1940s the old kiosk has been replaced by a new futuristic structure.
Embankment Pier is a pier on the River Thames in City of Westminster, London. It is located on the north bank of the river, immediately next to the Hungerford Bridge and directly outside the river entrance to Embankment Underground station. It is also conveniently close to Charing Cross railway station.
The London Eye Pier is directly in front of the London Eye Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in Central London, England.
Thomas Page was a British architect & civil engineer,who was responsible for the design and construction of many bridges, including Westminster Bridge and the first Chelsea Bridge
The Victoria Embankment Gardens are a series of gardens on the north side of the River Thames between Blackfriars Bridge and Westminster Bridge in London.
Dolphin lamp standards provide electric light along much of the Thames Embankment in London, United Kingdom. Two stylised dolphins or sturgeons writhe around the base of a standard lamp post, supporting a fluted column bearing electric lights in an opaque white globe, topped by a metal crown. Many of the lamps are mounted on granite plinths.
Winchester, Clarence, ed. (1938). "London's Riverside Highways". Wonders of World Engineering. London: Amalgamated Press. pp. 677–682. Describes the construction of the Victoria and Albert Embankments