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Page 323. " she crossed London Bridge "


London Bridge spans the River Thames in central London, between Southwark and the City. The first bridge was a timber structure built by the Romans which was replaced and improved several times until the first stone version was completed in 1209.

During medieval times, buildings stood on the bridge, whose ends were marked by Southwark Cathedral and the church of St Magnus the Martyr. The southern entrance to the bridge was the site at which the severed heads of executed traitors were displayed as a warning to the public – one of London’s most infamous sights.

London Bridge today, with the City in the background
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLondon Bridge today, with the City in the background - Credit: David Williams
The houses on the bridge were demolished in 1758-1762 and the bridge span widened to aid the navigation of the river. ‘New’ London Bridge was built in the early 19 th century, and the current structure replaced it in 1973.

London Bridge is one of the city’s icons, regularly shown in films, and has found its way into the annals of popular history in the children’s nursery rhyme ‘London Bridge Is Falling Down’ due to its regular collapses and replacements. At its foot are The London Tombs/The London Bridge Experience, a popular tourist attraction which shows visitors a tour through London’s darker history.