London Bridge

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London Bridge
Location Map ( geo)
London Bridge (A3).JPG
The bridge as seen from a river boat
Cameraicon.png View gallery (6)
From:  Southwark
To:  The City
Location
TQ327805
County
Surrey • Middlesex
Highway Authority
Transport for London
Opening Date
50 (1st Bridge)
55 (2nd Bridge)
80 (3rd Bridge)
1016 (4th Bridge)
c1091(5th Bridge)
1163 (6th Bridge)
1209 (7th Bridge)
1831 (8th Bridge)
1973 (9th bridge)
Additional Information
Bridge Type:  Concrete
Engineer:  John Mowlem & Co
On road(s)
A3
Crossings related to the A3
A3 (Cobham) Bridge • A3 Guildford Thro Route Bridge • Eashing Bypass Bridge • Hindhead Tunnel • Portsbridge Roundabout • Portsmouth - Bilbao ferry • Portsmouth - Caen ferry • Portsmouth - Cherbourg ferry • Portsmouth - Fishbourne ferry • Portsmouth - Le Havre ferry • Portsmouth - Santander ferry • Town Bridge (Godalming)

London Bridge is the oldest recorded crossing in Britain, first being built in the year 50. The first bridge was a temporary military design before the second permanent bridge. It was a Roman design and was on Watling Street. After the revolt of 60, the third bridge was built. It was abandoned circa 410 when the Romans left the Provence of Britannia.

It was about 600 years before the next bridge was built. This one was built in 1016 after an attack by King Olaf. It was this attack that the song London Bridge is Falling Down was based on. One other bridge was swept way in a storm in 1091.

However, the longest lived London Bridge was built in 1209. This incarnation of the Bridge had houses and chapels on it. It was during the 13th Century that the current version of the London Bridge is Falling Down song was written. It was in a poor state of repair. In 1281, major damage to the bridge occurred and had to be repaired. In the next few centuries, London Bridge became a popular spot where traitors to England had their head put on a spike. Scotland's William Wallace suffered this fate in 1305. In 1450, Jack Cade held the bridge and the bridge suffered massage damage. Houses were burned down. However, Jack Cade got the same fate as Wallace, his head was put onto a spike. The next major upgrade was when waterwheels were installed. By 1583, they were providing food and water for the City of London.

33 years before the Great Fire of London, London Bridge was burnt into the ground. It caused major damage and the houses were rebuilt. Some of the newer ones at the north end were burnt in the 1666 Great Fire of London but London Bridge escaped major damage. In 1722, the way that Britain drives on the left was established when a order for the direction of traffic on the bridge was enforced. In 1763, all the houses were pulled down and the bridge widened. This was a major engineering project and it weakened the bridge.

By 1800, the bridge was pushing towards 600 years old and in 1821, a competition between famous engineers like Thomas Telford and Ralph Dodd took place. The winner was John Rennie and in 1824 work commenced on the new incarnation of the bridge. Traffic switched to the new bridge in 1831 and the old bridge demolished. Five years later, the London & Greenwich railway opened London Bridge Railway Station and it became a very busy bridge for passengers going into the city. Grand steps were also built and these are still in use today for TfL riverboat services. In 1902, the bridge had widening works which were finished in 1904.

However this bridge was slowing sinking due to the soft clay that London is built on. It was also assigned the number A3 at classification and with the rise in traffic, made the sinking worst. In 1968, plans were announced for a new bridge. Robert McCulloch, an American from Arizona decided to bid on the Rennie Bridge. His winning bid of $2,460,000 (£1,622,370) was accepted and begin a urban legend that he thought he was buying the more famous Tower Bridge. He knew he was buying London Bridge and the Rennie bridge was replaced by the modern concrete bridge, built by John Mowlem & Co. The old Rennie Bridge now resides at Lake Havasu City. The modern Bridge is a D3 bridge though one of the lanes is a bus lane and it has a speed limit of 30 mph. In the mid 2000s, the bridge was made more interesting by shining red light on it. This was first done during the remembrance services and the red light was made permanent. What does the future hold for London Bridge? If its history is anything to go by, there are many more stories to tell.

Pictures


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London Bridge
Related Pictures
View gallery (6)
London- four bridges across the Thames - Geograph - 1911251.jpgLondon Bridge (A3).JPGLondon Bridge - Coppermine - 10587.jpgLondon Bridge fasing North - Coppermine - 10586.jpgLondon Bridghe fasing South - Coppermine - 10585.jpg
Crossings of the River Thames
A433 Road Bridge • A429 Road Bridge • Three Bridges • Town Bridge • A419 Road Bridge • Castle Eaton Bridge • Hannington Bridge • Halfpenny Bridge • St Johns Bridge • Radcot Bridge • Tadpole Bridge • Newbridge • Swinford Bridge • A34 Road Bridge • Godstow & Little Godstow Bridges • Osney Bridge • Folly Bridge • Donnington Bridge • Isis Bridge • Abingdon Bridge • Sutton Bridge • Clifton Hampden Bridge • Little Wittenham Bridge • Shillingford Bridge • Wallingford Bridge • Winterbrook Bridge • Goring & Streatley Bridge • Whitchurch Bridge • Caversham Bridge • Reading Bridge • Sonning Bridge • Henley Bridge • Marlow Bridge • Longridge Bridge • Cookham Bridge • Maidenhead Bridge • New Thames Bridge • Queen Elizabeth Bridge • Windsor Bridge • Victoria Bridge • Albert Bridge • Runnymede • Staines Bridge • M3 Thames Bridge • Chertsey Bridge • Walton Bridge • Hampton Court Bridge • Kingston Bridge • Richmond Bridge • Twickenham Bridge • Kew Bridge • Chiswick Bridge • Hammersmith Bridge • Putney Bridge • Wandsworth Bridge • Battersea Bridge • Albert Bridge • Chelsea Bridge • Vauxhall Bridge • Lambeth Bridge • Westminster Bridge • Waterloo Bridge • Blackfriars Bridge • Southwark Bridge • London Bridge • Tower Bridge • Rotherhithe Tunnel • Blackwall Tunnels • Silvertown Tunnel • Woolwich Ferry • Thames Gateway Crossing • Belvedere Bridge • Dartford Crossing (Dartford TunnelQEII BridgeNew Dartford Bridge) • Gravesend - Tilbury Ferry • Lower Thames Crossing