Most of us would be aware of the nursery rhyme “London Bridge,” which repeats that the bridge is ‘falling down. Contrary to this old rhyme, the bridge has never fallen to date. However, looking into the world-famous London Bridge history, it is evident that it has been purposely demolished and reconstructed multiple times.
London Bridge History and Facts
The very first stone-built London Bridge or Old London Bridge on the River Thames in 1176 was constructed by Peter of Colechurch. He was the priest and chaplain presiding over the St. Mary’s of Coleschurch and laid the foundation for the bridge. Before his work, it is believed that bridges had existed across the River Thames for nearly 2,000 years. All the bridges built before Peter of Colechurch were made of wood and he was the first to construct a bridge out of stone. He did this by replacing the bridge’s timber structure with stone and concrete. This Old London Bridge survived many natural and man-made calamities such as winter ice, river bed erosion and fire from 1176 to 1820. Several repairs were done to keep the bridge functioning until it reached a stage where the London city municipality concluded that the bridge was too expensive to maintain.deemed it too much maintenance. This led to the decision to construct a new bridge upstream of the River Thames.
How many London bridges are there today in London?
- A. 1
- B. 3
- C. 4
- D. More than 4
The New London Bridge was designed by Scottish engineer John Rennie in 1820 and built by his two sons, George Rennie and John Rennie Jr. to completion in 1831. This was presided over by demolishing the Old London Bridge in 1832. The New London Bridge, however, had a short-lived stint. In 1962, it was discovered that the New London Bridge was sinking into the River Thames due to the increase in traffic. The City of London decided to put the 130-year-old bridge up for auction and construct a new one.
Robert P. McCulloch, founder of Lake Havasu City in Arizona, US, submitted the winning bid of $2,460,000 for the bridge in 1968. McCulloch spent another $7 million to move the New London Bridge to Lake Havasu City, which took three years. Between 1968 and 1971, the bridge’s facing stone was dismantled and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the US. It was then re-erected on a five-span core of reinforced concrete to serve as a tourist attraction in the resort town of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The New London Bridge now crosses Lake Havasu in the US.
These events finally bring us to the current bridge, the Modern London Bridge, built between 1968 and 1972.