ROYALS, REVOLUTIONS AND REVELRY: 10 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT LONDONS BRIDGES Londons 20 bridges are a familiar sight to commuters and tourists who pass them every day but theres more to the capitals bridges than iron and steel. From the bridge with a paint job chosen by Queen Victoria to the river crossing that doubled as a market, Londons bridges are as fascinating as its palaces. Tower Bridge is 244 metres long, covered in 22,000 litres of paint and crossed by 40,000 people each day. Now known for its bright colour, Tower Bridge was originally painted in Queen Victoria’s favourite colour – chocolate brown - but later went a dull grey so in 1976 was repainted in blue and white with touches of red and gold. Along with inspiring a nursery rhyme - London Bridge Is Falling Down - the Anglo-Saxon London Bridge also inspired a scene in a Norse saga. In the Olaf Sagas, the bridge is pillaged by Viking raiders. The first line in translation reads London Bridge is broken down. The first stone version of London Bridge was built in 1209. Peter de Colechurch, priest of St Mary Colechurch, supervised the build. It took 30 years to build and up to 150 people died during construction. London Bridge was six storeys high by the 16th century and was a popular market but the bridge has also seen its share of trouble. In the 1450 uprising, Jack Cade and his followers threatened to set fire to the bridge. The drawbridge was opened, he was allowed to cross and a bloody battle played out on the bridge all night, eventually bringing an end to the uprising. London Bridge was also famously used to display the heads of traitors, beginning with William Wallace who was executed by Edward I Hammer of the Scots in 1305. Others to get the treatment included rebels Wat Tyler and Jack Cade, and Henry VIIIs former friend and chancellor, Sir Thomas More. Sir John Rennies Southwark Bridge is the ‘iron bridge’ that appears in Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend. The latter opens with Gaffer Hexham and Lizzie fishing bodies out of the Thames between London Bridge and Southwark Bridge. Little Dorrit loves walking over the ‘iron bridge’ because it is quiet and it is here that John Chivery proposes to her. During the construction of an underpass beneath Blackfriars Bridge in the 1960s, In the 1960s, the remains of a Roman ship dating from the first century AD were discovered in the Thames mud. Among the finds were a Roman copper coin blazoned with the goddess Fortuna, which had been placed under the ship’s mast to bring good luck to the ship and its crew. Waterloo Bridge is the longest in London and was opened by the Prince Regent (later George IV) on 18 June 1817, the second anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The victorious Duke of Wellington accompanied the Prince Regent and the Duke of York in a procession across a bridge lined with Waterloo veterans. When Vauxhall Bridge was built in 1816, it was the first cast iron bridge constructed over the Thames. Vauxhall itself is named after a 13th century French mercenary and friend of King John, the bad monarch of Robin Hood fame, who built himself a manor close to the river. Known as Fulkes’ Hall, it gave its name to the area. Source: London’s Bridges by Peter Matthews Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Posted on: Wed, 28 May 2014 13:35:51 +0000

Trending Topics

Recently Viewed Topics

© 2015