Everyday, thousands of people cross London Bridge. It is one of the most famous bridges in the world, connecting the two banks of the River Thames. For centuries this was the only crossing point on the River Thames where you could walk or ride across the river. So, If you’re staying in any of the hotels in Cricklewood London and looking to head to London Bridge, here are some interesting facts that will amaze you:
The Romans built the first bridge soon after they occupied Britain in the first century AD. The site was just slightly to the east of the bridge we know today as London Bridge. Over the centuries, this bridge was repaired and rebuilt countless times. It even became the subject of a nursery rhyme, sung by English children.
Various verses of the rhyme refer to different ways of building a bridge – wood and clay, bricks and mortar, iron and steel, gold and silver and the problems involved for example ‘silver and gold will be stolen away’, ‘wood and clay may be washed away’. After each verse there is a chorus:
London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down, My Fair Lady.”
No one knows who the ‘Fair Lady’ was, but some suggest that it may have been Anne Boleyn, Henry VIIII’s second queen who was reputed to be a witch. The exact origins of the rhyme are lost in time. Suggestions include a Viking attack in 1014, and the numerous attempts at rebuilding the bridge over the years.
The most famous version of London Bridge was in the Medieval and Tudor periods. This was a bridge with countless small arches, through which the river ran really, really fast. Passing through the arches by boat involved a lot of skill as it was very dangerous, yet it was undertaken daily by watermen taking people up and down the river.
This Medieval bridge was not only a place to cross the river, but also a place where many people actually lived. Houses jutted out above the water from the sides of the bridge, and there was even a chapel for private prayer by people passing by. Each night the gates to the bridge on the southern side of the river would be ceremonially locked.
You can also read: Explore London along River Thames on your next holiday
Above the walls and the gatehouse were constant reminders of the risk of breaking the law – it was here that the heads of traitors, murderers and thieves were displayed until they eventually became pure bone.
Across the bridge in Southwark, The London Bridge Experience tells the tales of some of those people whose heads decorated the bridge. It even included lords and princes.
The original London Bridge was located just a little further eastwards than the existing bridge which was built in the 1960’s. An earlier bridge built in 1831 was actually sold to the Americans, who took it apart and rebuilt it stone by stone across Lake Havasu in Utah.
For anyone who is keen on going to visit London Bridge, the Best Western Palm Hotel Cricklewood is definitely the right destination every time you are coming to the London for your annual vacations.