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Travel Talk

Local hosts share their insights

Centuries-old London bridge

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

The first stone London Bridge was built in the 13th century with five-story houses built on top of it. It didn’t take long for it to become an important crossing point across the river as well as a prime location for business and residences. The original bridge offered uninterrupted mass movements and it functioned as the only bridge across the River Thames until 300 years ago when other bridges started to appear.

This is what the first stone London Bridge looked like.

Image London Bridge before the alteration in 1757 by Samuel Scott

The weight from the buildings, frequent fires, and increasing traffic was threatening bridge’s structural stability and required continuous repairs. Therefore, the new London Bridge was built in 1831 to handle more traffic. Although, a lot more work needed to be done on it than anyone expected, for example, three times as much money just went into building approach paths instead of the bridge itself!

Image London Bridge 1900 by John L.Stoddard

It turned out that the bridge wasn’t as strong and could not handle the huge amount of traffic that was passing through it each day and the bridge started to sink!

In 1986 Common Council of the City of London member Ivan Luckin proposed that they sell London Bridge to replace it with another bridge. Then everyone thought his idea was completely crazy! But it happened. To hear more about The New London Bridge in Arizona - Listen to The City of London tour to hear the full story of how this happened.

Image London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona by Ken Lund

Almost 50 years ago Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II inaugurated and opened the Modern London bridge. The design of this bridge represents a major post-World War II innovation in engineering, but itself isn't very special. The lack of decoration on this bridge is a clear sign that its builder wanted to make sure it could last for years and function efficiently.

As you cross London Bridge, the glorious views of the city and Tower Bridge open up before your eyes.

Image Butler's Wharf Pier by Robert Tudor

Download the GlobeTrott Travel app and learn more about London in a digital audio tour.

Blog post created by Ruta from GlobeTrott Travel

Based on "The City of London" audio tour @GlobeTrott Travel


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