In Pepys' day this was the only bridge across the Thames below Kingston, some miles to the west. The structure then consisted of "19 arches and a wooden drawbridge built 1176-1209 in place of an earlier wooden bridge ... The road across it carried a line of houses on each side with shops at the road level." (Latham and Matthews, Companion).
In 1831 it was replaced with a new bridge 180 feet upstream, and this was later replaced in 1973.
Susanna • Link
Here's a nice article
(with an illustration of c. 1600) on the old London Bridge, from, oddly enough, a medieval tent fanatic:
And here it is, with the roofs of its houses, on the 1746 map of London:
Roger Miller • Link
I was interested to see the refererence to souvenirs made from the pilings of the original London Bridge in the article linked to above by Susanna.
We have in our family two wooden egg cups, one of which has a label on the bottom with the following hand written inscription: "This cup is formed out of a portion of the oak Piles on which the orginal London Bridge was built in the year 1016 making at this time (1850) 834 years since the Piles were placed".
I have always been rather sceptical of the authenticity of these egg cups but I suppose it is possible that they really were made from the remains of the bridge.
The cups were inherited from my great uncle Jack (Charles John Munk) who was killed on the Somme in 1916 aged 22. They were almost his only possessions and are mentioned in the letter that he wrote to be given to his parents in the event of his death.
Sam Sampson • Link
The London Bridge Museum & Educational Trust
Are planning a Museum in the southern abutment space of Sir John Rennie's London Bridge. Their website has an excellent history of the bridge, and the museum proposal looks fascinating.
There's a view of London Bridge circa 1600 on the 'Shakespeare Sonnets' site. "From a photo-chromolithograph made for the New Shakspere Society, from a drawing in Pepys' Collection at Magdalene College, Cambridge. This is reputed to be the earliest genuine view of London Bridge."
Peter Roberts • Link
There is an informative, illustrated page about the Inhabited Bridge, that links & complements Sam`s ref. above. Its by The Old London Bridge Society that I founded! We`ve more news when our own web site is up and running. For now, I`m a grateful `Guest contributor` at the address below, please check it out:
Glyn • Link
This picture depicts the Frost Fair of 1683.
On the left bank you can see St Mary-le-bow church with its dragon weathervane, the Monument and the Tower of London just beyond London Bridge. Southwark Cathedral is on the right bank. Apparently the Temple gardenwall is on the left which means that (a) there is a lot of foreshortening in the perspective, and (b) the ice extended a long way. If Pepys (then aged 49 or 50) is anywhere in this drawing, I suspect him to be the man on the lower left walking with the lady.
Glyn • Link
For the record, there are at least three models of old London Bridge on display in London.
Absolutely the best one is in the entrance to the Church of St Magnus the Martyr (can anyone take a photo of this one?). To find the church, stand at the Monument and look downhill to the river and it is the church that's directly across the road. If it is closed, you can still see fragments of the later London Bridge in the churchyard, and a wooden Roman harbour post from 2000 years ago.
The biggest model is in the Docklands Museum.
The third is badly lit and displayed, and nothing special, but is the most accessible because it is in the Museum of London.
dirk • Link
Virtual reality tour
London Bridge around 1500
CGS • Link
another view : Hollar: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/image.aspx?com...
interesting site for perusing London of Peeps.
dirk • Link
London Bridge virtual reality tour
The old link is not functioning any more - use this one:
London Bridge (old), a stone bridge over the Thames from London to Southwark, 926 feet long, 60 feet high, and 40 feet broad, built between 1176 and 1209, under the superintendence of Peter of Colechurch, chaplain of the former church of St. Mary Colechurch, in the Old Jewry. This bridge stood about 200 feet east of the present structure in the line of Fish Street Hill, just by the church of St. Magnus, and consisted of twenty arches, a drawbridge for larger vessels, and a chapel and crypt in the centre, dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, and in which the said Peter of Colechurch was buried in 1205.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.