Plaque

(lost) London Bridge - information/viewing panel

Erection date: 22/3/2017

Inscription

{On the panel:}
The Jubilee Walkway – Southwark
This panel is dedicated to the memory of Sir James Swaffield, Director of the GLC between 1973 and 1984 and a Trustee of the Jubilee Walkway Trust from 1977 until 2012. The Jubilee Walkway is a popular 14 mile walk connecting up many of the main attractions in London and has inspired the Outdoor Trust to develop similar Walkways in the main cities of the Commonwealth.

The Outdoor Trust is grateful for the generosity of Gordon Home’s family, the London Borough of Southwark and the United St Saviour’s Charity Southwark, to support this information panel. United St Saviour’s Charity, also known as the Corporation of Wardens of the Parish of St Saviour’s, has existed in this part of Southwark since 1541. The charity continues to support communities in Southwark today, through its progressive grant-making programmes and historic almshouses for Southwark’s older residents.

London Bridge
Roman soldiers built the first wooden bridge over the Thames near here around 43 AD to connect Londinium to Southwark and London grew rapidly as a result.

In 1176, after successive wooden bridges were destroyed by fire, Henry II commissioned a stone crossing under the supervision of an Essex priest, Peter de Colechurch (d.1205). It took 33 years to complete and was to last more than 600 years. The 275m long, 8m wide bridge was supported on 20 Gothic arches and featured a central chapel and a host of shops and houses (the rent from which funded its construction and upkeep).

In 1281 expanding ice from the frozen Thames crushed five of the arches and Queen Eleanor was blamed for misappropriating bridge revenues and failing to use them for repairs. This gave rise to the popular rhyme: ‘London Bridge is falling down – my fair lady’.

In 1722, to ease congestion, the Lord Mayor decreed that ‘all carts, coaches and other carriages coming out of Southwark keep along the west side and those going out of the City keep along the east side.’ It has been suggested that this may have inspired traffic driving on the left in Britain.

The houses and shops on the bridge were demolished to ease traffic flow between 1758 and 1762, and the bridge modified to improve navigation on the river, but the congestion did not improve.

In 1831 King William IV and Queen Adelaide opened a new 15m wide bridge, designed by John Rennie the Elder (1761 – 1821), made from Haytor granite in a five arch design. It was widened by a further 4 meters but remained a pinch point for London’s traffic. In 1896 the bridge was the busiest point in London, with more than 8,000 pedestrians and 900 vehicles crossing hourly and the bridge was sinking about 2.5cm every eight years under the weight.

In 1968 Rennie’s bridge was sold by the City of London to an American, the Missourian entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch (1911 – 77), for US$2,460,000. It was taken apart, reconstructed piece by piece at Lake Havasu City, Arizona and re-dedicated on 10 October 1971. It is still there today. Some of the old London Bridge granite footings are in this square.

The current London Bridge was designed by Lord Holford (1907 – 75) and opened by the Queen in 1973. The 283m long Bridge is made of three spans of concrete box girders and cost £4 million.

Gordon Home (1878 – 1969), the distinguished author, historian and artist, drew the changing appearance of Old London Bridge over seven centuries.

Unveiled by HRH the Duke of Gloucester in the 40th anniversary year of the Jubilee Walkway 1977 – 2017.

22nd March 2017

Unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester, this is actually an "interpretation panel". It shows the, modern (2017) , river view from Cathedral Square, and the seven phases of London Bridge from 1209 to 1831 drawn by Gordon Home. We have used the 'seven phases' for our image. The text at the left of each phase specifies the historic source for that drawing.  Betonbabe has a copy of the original drawing which is a bit clearer. This drawing was used on an earlier, nearby, memorial, now lost.

London SE1 is referring to this lost memorial when it writes that this drawing was reproduced on a metal plate attached to a stone from the 1831 London Bridge, left in Cathedral Square

2023: Lionel Wright has been in contact with Gordon Home's granddaughter, Emily Petty. She told Lionel that Gospatrick Home (Gordon’s son and Emily’s father) and Reuben (Emily’s son), together on a visit to London, found the freestanding interpretation panel (Seven Ages of Old London Bridge) in a poor state. The late Gospatric Home (known as Gos) then arranged and paid for a new plate of the chart to be cast, and that is what we see here.

Site: Cathedral Square (4 memorials)

SE1, Montague Close

There are 4 memorials in this photo:

  • The London Bridge information/viewing panel is on top of the river wall, just to the right of the person with the red hat.
  • The plaque to Folajimi Olubumni-Adewole is on the face of the river wall, largely hidden by the group of three women at the far right.
  • The remnant from the bridge is laid in the pavement, about where the two people are standing.
  • The London Bridge 2017 attack panel is on top of the river wall, between the person with the white bag and the person in the white shirt.

The information panel was originally set at the centre but it was moved to the left to allow the 2017 attack panel to take the central position.

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
London Bridge - information/viewing panel

Subjects commemorated i

London Bridge

Four stone bridges have spanned the Thames at this point. The first was built...

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Corporation of the City of London

In addressing the 'square mile' concept Londonist has provided a potted histo...

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Peter of Colechurch

His name, sometimes given as Peter de Colechurch, is connected to the church ...

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Gerard Conyers

Banker. Lived in Sheen. As Lord Mayor he decreed that on London Bridge carria...

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Queen Eleanor of Provence

French noblewoman who married King Henry III and became consort queen, 1236 u...

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Show all 13

This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
London Bridge - information/viewing panel

Created by i

Commonwealth Walkway Trust

Established in 2012 with a donation made by the Jubilee Walkway Trust. The Tr...

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Southwark Council

The London Borough of Southwark was created as an amalgamation of the Metropo...

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United St Saviour’s Charity / Corporation of Wardens of the Parish of St Saviour’s

Southwark St Saviour was a civil parish and part of the ancient Borough of So...

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Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

Grandson of George V, and son of Princess Alice. Patron of the Silver Jubilee...

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Gordon Home

Author, historian and artist. Gordon Cochrane Home. From London SE1: "...wri...

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Show all 6

This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
London Bridge - information/viewing panel

Also at this site i

Folajimi Olubumni-Adewole - SE1

Folajimi Olubumni-Adewole - SE1

Jimi #hero Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, a resident of Southwark, lived in Bermo...

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London Bridge attack 2017

London Bridge attack 2017

There was only one British citizen amongst the victims; the others were Austr...

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London Bridge remnant

London Bridge remnant

The long piece of text is attributed to Raleigh, here and all over the web, b...

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