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John Darlington on great London monuments: the surprising story of London Bridge

John Darlington on great London monuments: the surprising story of London Bridge
John Darlington on great London monuments: the surprising story of London Bridge

London’s origins can be traced back to its favourable position as a crossing point on the River Thames, so its longest-surviving and most important bridge is an excellent place to start a series which explores the city’s historic monuments and buildings. What do we know about this icon that remained historic London’s only bridge until 1750, when Westminster Bridge opened? First, it was built under the direction of Peter of Colechurch (also known as the Bridge Master), rector of a church on the north bank. It was a little to the west of a succession of earlier wooden bridges which had spanned the Thames since Roman times. Completed in 1209, four years after Peter’s death, the new bridge, the first to be built in stone, connected Fish Street Hill to the north of the river, with the south bank just to the east of a priory that was later to become Southwark Cathedral.



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