Essential Architecture-  London

London Bridges

Thirty-four bridges span the Thames. The oldest is London Bridge, which was originally made from wood. In 1209 it was replaced by a stone bridge with shops and houses along its sides. This was followed by a granite bridge in 1831, and the present concrete bridge in 1973.

Lambeth Bridge is the central bridge of the three bridges in the photograph on the left. Nearest the camera is Westminster Bridge and in the far distance is Vauxhall Bridge.
Seen from the London Eye observation wheel.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge has stood over the River Thames in London since 1894 and is one of the finest, most recognisable bridges in the World. It is the London bridge you tend to see in movies and on advertising literature for London. Tower Bridge is the only Thames bridge which can be raised.

Tower Bridge is 60 meters long with towers that rise to a height of 43 meters. Its middle section can be raised to permit large vessels to pass the Tower Bridge. Massive engines raise the bridge sections, which weigh about 1000 lbs each, in just over a minute. It used to be raised about 50 times a day, but nowadays it is only raised 4 to 5 times a week

London Bridge

London Bridge is between the City of London and Southwark. It is between Cannon Street Railway Bridge and Tower Bridge. London's original bridge made this one of the most famous bridge in the world.

The first London Bridge is thought to have been built by the Romans sometime in the first century, with several rebuilds over the centuries. Eventually wooden bridges were replaced with a stone bridge, the first one being started in 1176 and finished years later

Throughout its history, London bridge has been a busy thoroughfare, and was once lined with shops. The road over the bridge was only about 4m wide between the shops. It was so narrow it often jammed with people, horses and carts. In 1733 a 'keep left' rule was enforced to keep the traffic moving. This became the rule of the road in Britain.

In 1757 the houses and shops on the bridge were demolished. A new bridge was built in 1831 to replace the old one. This in turn was demolished in 1967 and rebuilt in Lake Havasu City, USA, as a tourist attraction. The present london bridge opened in 1973.

London Bridge rebuilt in Lake Havasu City, USA

The Millennium Bridge

The Millennium bridge is a pedestrian bridge erected to connect the Tate Modern Art Gallery to the City and St Paul's Cathedral. Almost immediately after opening the bridge had to be shut because of dangerous swaying. It has now been reopened. The bridge is about 320 metres, costs 16 million pounds to build and only takes pedestrians.

Southwark Bridge

Southwark Bridge is a road-bridge linking Southwark and the City across the River Thames. It was designed by Ernest George and Basil Mott and opened in 1921.

Blackfriars Railway Bridge

Blackfriars Railway Bridge is a railway bridge crossing the River Thames between Blackfriars Bridge and the Millennium Bridge

Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge over the River Thames between Westminster and Lambeth. The current bridge, opened in 1862, is the second on the site and replaced an earlier bridge that had opened in 1750


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