Crossings of the Thames 23b – Finding London Bridge

(Continued from yesterday’s post)

The sale of ‘new’ London Bridge and its subsequent relocation to the USA is probably the most famous example of London Bridge being reused. However, due to the distance involved to the inhabitants of this fair city, there are a few other places in London where you can spot the old bits and bobs that were London Bridge.

The Museum of London is a good place to start. While there is a lot of refurbishment kicking in at the moment, this institution still provides valuable resource regarding London’s past. Of course, London Bridge is featured in scraps throughout the museum, you saw the photos in yesterday’s post. More interestingly, a piece of the Old stone crossing sits in the museum’s medieval section:

While we are on the subjects of Museum’s, also head down to the Museum in Docklands if you want to find out more on London Bridge as well as London in general. A fascinating museum and definitely somewhere to which I will be heading back to…

Anyhow, back to the city itself. Let us be honest, if you want to see the Old London Bridge, then head down to Old London Bridge. The modern day bridge is slightly to the west of the famous stone structure, so you can do as so many Londoners have done in the past and head under the arches of St Magnus towards the river Thames, along the alignment of the old river crossing, unhindered by modern day traffic flows.

As the plaque on the church wall proudly proclaims, the churchyard formed the approach to the original London Bridge. As you walk down Fish Hill Street and pass beneath the church’s arches, you can appreciate just how narrow the old crossing over the Thames actually was. London Bridge itself is one of two crossings to have a church on either side of it, with St Magnus the Martyr in the City and Southwark Cathedral on the South Bank.

(Is this a piece of Old London Bridge sitting in St Magnus’ courtyard? Who knows?)

My final set of travels around London took me back to the East End in order to find a few pieces of Old London Bridge, still well utilised today. Victoria Park seems an unlikely spot to house such historical relics, but if you head towards the Lock House Gate, you will see two little stone alcoves in the park. Providing shelter to Londoners today, as they have always done, they were removed from the old bridge and in 1860 placed in the surrounding greenery to continue what they had done best. Keeping the populace dry.

Getting there and away:

The Museum of London is in The City, close to St Paul’s and Moorgate stations. Entry is free, and while a lot of the museum is closed for repairs, it still is an excellent place to visit.

The Museum in Docklands is just outside the Canary Wharf complex, the nearest stations being Westferry and West India Quay on the Docklands Light Railway. It costs £5 to enter, but the ticket is valid for a year. One of the best museums that I have visited in the capital, it tells a lot about the history of London, and its role as a port. London Bridge features heavily in the exhibits.

There is a ‘London Bridge Experience’, built into the bridge. But having seen that tickets cost up to £20 a pop, I did not bother visiting it.

St Magnus’ church is a minute’s walk from Monument station, and makes a pretty little detour on your way round the Square Mile.

Victoria Park is huge and there are a variety of way in which you can approach the park. If you want to get to Lockhouse Gate, then you can walk from Bow Road/Church stations (20 minutes) or take bus routes 8, 276 or 488 to the park itself.


Leave a comment

Filed under london, places, travel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s