At what period a bridge was erected over the Thames, between London and , seems doubtful. The notice of the existence of a bridge occurs in the laws of Ethelred II. which fix the tolls to be paid on all vessels coming up to the bridge. William of Malmsbury also mentions this bridge, in his account of the sieges which the city sustained on the invasion of England, by the Danes under Sweyn and Canute. That the bridge was erected between the years and , may safely be inferred from the circumstance, that in the former year, Unlaf or Olaf, the Dane, is said to have sailed much higher up the river; and that, in the latter year, Canute's progress was impeded by it.
is an extract from the , referring to at so early a period as .
says Suorro Sturlesonius, an icelandic writer of the century,
Stow the historian attributes the building of this bridge to the brethren of the college of priests of St. Mary Overie; his account, which he received from Linstend, the last prior, is as follows:
There can be no doubt that prior Linstead exceeded the truth, by ascribing all the credit of so important a public benefaction to a small house of religious; who, with greater probability, only consented to the building of the bridge, upon sufficient consideration being made to them for the pecuniary loss of their ferry from which they received a considerable revenue.
Besides, it is evident beyond dispute, that so early as the Henry I. there were certain lands appropriated for the repairs of this bridge, as appears by a gift of per annum, out of the same, to the monks of , by Thomas Arden: nor could any such society, or petty monastery or college, ever be supposed capable of supporting such a bridge, which, besides other accidents, was burnt in , though not totally destroyed; it was repaired, but decayed so rapidly, that in it was so ruinous that it was obliged to be new built under the inspection of Peter an eminent architect, and chaplain or curate of St. Mary Colechurch, in London.
These continual and large expences in maintaining and repairing a wooden bridge becoming burthensome to the people, who, upon extraordinary occasions, when the lands appropriated for that use fell short in their produce, were taxed to make up the deficiencies: it was resolved to build a stone bridge, a little to the west of that wooden fabric, whose head, in the days of William I. pointed ashore at Botolph's wharf; and the management thereof was given to the abovementioned Peter, as all our historians agree. But this architect did not live to finish so great an undertaking, which, with great encouragement from the king, and Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, who gave towards it, began to be erected in the Hen. I. for he either died, or was so worn out with age and fatigue, in the year of king John's reign, , that we find among the patent rolls of the , the following letter missive from the said king to the mayor and citizens of London, recommending to them Isenbert to finish the bridge; which recommendation is thus translated into English by Mr. Maitland:--
By this royal letter of recommendation of Isenbert to be architect or surveyor of the works of London-bridge, it appears that Peter of Colechurch must either have died in the year , or by age or incapacity was rendered unfit to superintend the direction of the bridge.
While Peter of Colechurch had the superintendence of the work, he at his own expence erected a chapel on the east side of the pier from the north end, and endowed the same for priests, clerks, &c. This was the building on the arches of London-bridge. This chapel was afterwards augmented with so many chaunteries, that there were chaplains belonging to it in the Henry VI. maintained by charitable legacies.
This edifice, which was dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket, was a beautiful gothic structure, feet long, feet broad, and feet in height. It consisted of stories, both consecrated to sacred purposes. The upper chapel was an elegant structure, being supported by groups of clustered columns, and lighted by pointed arch windows, divided by stone mullions; beneath each of the windows were arched recesses, separated by small pillars. The roof was originally formed of lofty pointed arches; though when it was transferred into a warehouse, a wooden ceiling of strong beams crossing each other in squares, was erected.The lower chapel was of the same chaste and correct order of architecture, it was paved with black and white marble, and in the middle was a sepulchral monument, under which it was supposed Peter of Colechurch was buried. Clusters of small pillars arose at equal distances on the sides, and bending over the roof, met in the centre of the arch, where they were bound together by large flowers cut in the same stone; between these pillars were the windows, which were arched, and afforded a view of the Thames on each side. It had an entrance from the river, as well as from the street, from which last there was a descent by a circular flight of stone steps. This venerable edifice remained nearly in its original form till the
|total demolition of the houses on the bridge, at which time it belonged to the occupiers of a dwelling-house erected above it, by whom it had been converted into a warehouse.|
This chapel, with its appurtenances, was in the year , given by Henry III. to the master, brethren, and sisters of St. Katherine, near the , for the term of years.
The dreadful fire that destroyed the bridge in , with the adjoining priory of St. Mary , has been mentioned before.
In , an order of the common council was made, by which it was ordained that there should not be kept a market on , nor in any other place, except those appointed for that purpose; also that no person should go out of the city to to buy cattle, or any wares which might be bought in the city, under the penalty of the forfeiture of the thing bought.
Stow was of opinion, that, when this bridge was erected, the river Thames was turned into a large trench or canal made for that purpose; which he imagined had its outflux near , and its influx near Battersea. But this conjecture has not the least foundation for its support; for that which led the author into this
|idea, are the vestigia of the canal supposed to have been made by Canute, when he laid siege to London.|
Yet, after all the art and charge used and expended in the building of the stone bridge, the citizens did not find themselves so much eased as might have been expected; for in , about years after its completion, it was so ruinous, that they were obliged to apply for relief and assistance to king Edward I. for its repairs; who in the year of his reign granted to the bridge keeper a brief or licence to ask and receive the charity of his well-disposed subjects throughout the kingdom towards repairing the same, in this form:
, &c. Which is translated by Mr. Maitland, as follows:
Besides these general letters patent, we find others recorded in particular to the clergy of all degrees, earnestly pressing their contribution to so laudable and necessary a work, and to exhort the people thereto. But, not finding this method effectual to raise a
| sufficient fund for so expensive a work, his majesty, the next year, issued out other letters patent for taking customs or toll of all commodities in London, to be applied to the repairs of the bridge, in this form:
In English thus:
And to prevent any evasion of this royal grant and command, his majesty issued a further order to the mayor, and or of the most discreet and loyal citizens associated with him, to take the same custom of a penny for every horseman, and a halfpenny for every pack, as above, which should pass between London and , on either side of the said bridge, towards the expence of its reparation.
The same toll or customs, it appears, were continued for the repairs of the bridge in the and years of Edward I. And the briefs or letters patents for gathering contributions for the same purpose were again issued, both to the people in general, and to the clergy in particular, in the of Edward II.
In , the year of the reign of Edward I. the king granted a patent of pontage or bridge tax,
for years. It is a long but comprehensive charter, and mentions many commodities of the present day, viz. for every , or weight of cheese, fat of tallow, and butter for sale, ; of every of barley, ; for every weight of sugar, or liquorice, ; for every pound of dates,
|saffron and cotton, farthing; for every weight of copper, brass, and tin, ; for every ells of linen coming from ports beyond the sea, ; for every horse of a price of or more, ; if less, an halfpenny, for sheep, an halfpenny, for every cart freighted with fish, &c.|
In the Edward I. a grant was made to Henry de Walleis, mayor, and the citizens, of a waste piece of ground on the north side of the church yard of St. Mary Woolchurch; as also another piece, on which now stand those buildings, called the , near the east end of ; and a piece of ground, near the convent of the Friars Minors, in Grey-Friars, was granted to the same mayor and citizens by Edward III. for the repairs of this bridge: which several grants confirm the opinion, that the city had then recovered and maintained its ancient right to the custody of the bridge, and management of its revenues and repairs.
The tower, at the north side of the drawbridge, contrived to give passage for ships with provision to , and to resist the attempts of an enemy, was begun to be built in the year , in the mayoralty of John Reinwell.
About years after, of the arches at the south end, together with the bridge-gate, fell down, and the ruins being suffered to remain, of the locks, or passages for the water, was almost rendered useless; whence it received the name of the rock-lock, and is frequently taken for natural rock. The other buildings on the bridge increased very slowly, for in , when Thos. Falconbridge, the bastard, besieged it, there were no more than houses, besides the gate, and a few other small buildings. In Stow's time, both sides were built up; so that the whole length had the appearance of a large well-built street; there being left on purpose only openings, with stone walls, and iron gates over them, for a prospect, east and west, on the Thames.
The property belonging to this bridge must have been considerable. Among the Harleian MSS. is a book entitled,
It is in Latin, and appears to have been written in the century. In the same volume is an account of the
from which it appears that the gross amount of the latter was , a considerable sum at the period of taking the survey, which the ingenious author of the conceives was about the middle of the century. The disbursements of , were, however
|considerable, and the offices of bridge-keepers were situations of considerable note and profit.|
In the year of Edward IV. , Peter Alford and Peter Caldecote, wardens of London-bridge, paid, on account of the same, the sum of , and half-pence.
Arnold, in his , an author of great credit, and older than Stow, gives us the following account of the rents, and their application for the support of this bridge in the year , &c.
In the years , and , London-bridge was repaired to some extent. In the Gentleman's Magazine for , is a letter from Joseph Ames, secretary to the society of antiquaries, containing inscriptions engraven on stone, found in pulling down a part of the edifice. These, it is supposed, were laid in the building at the different times of its repair, specified by their several dates. The oldest inscription is inches high, by inches long.
The letters are raised, and the words within a border are
, with the date of , in Arabic figures.
The next inscription is similar to the above, being inches in height, by inches broad; the words are,
The last inscription is supposed to record the benefactions, of sir Roger Achiley, draper, mayor, in . The tablet is inches wide, by high, and the inscription is
According to the author of the , sir Roger Achiley was at this period senior alderman, representing the ward of bridge within.
Of the appearance of London-bridge, about , there is extant a curious illuminated drawing in the . It is contained in a folio volume, which professes to treat of
and from the style of writing and the union of the red and white roses in the title page was probably intended for that sanguinary tyrant, Henry VIII. when prince of Wales. The illumination from which the engraving in the next page is faithfully copied, represents the duke of Orleans in the Tower, sending despatches to his friends abroad. The Tower, wharf, and river before them, occupy the whole foreground of the painting; and in the back appears the east side of , with numerous houses standing upon it; the chapel of St. Thomas reaching down to the sterlings, and the violent fall of the river
|through the different arches; whilst, beyond it, rise the spires of several churches, especially the very high of old , and the other buildings of London, erected along the banks of the Thames.|
In , the following charges upon the bridge estate appear on the account rolls of the bridge: , Thomas Crull and Robert Draper, wardens of , salary to each of them ; winter's livery to each, -l: reward to each, For horse keeping, to each, Total to each of them, ; sum of the whole. Rental this year, l.
The gallant action of Edward Osborne, ancestor to the duke of Leeds, when he was apprentice to sir William Hewet, clothworker, has been often related, and is better known than most other portions of the history of this bridge.
saved her, and Osborne shall enjoy her.
when he received the honour of knighthood at Westminister. On the , sir Thomas Osborne, great grandson of sir Edward, was raised to the peerage by the
|titles of viscount Latimer, and baron Kiveton, in the county of York, and in the year following, earl of Danby; and , marquis of Caermarthen, and on , he became the duke of Leeds.|
Nothing is known relating to the bridge chapel, at the disolution of monasteries, &c. in ; it is not even mentioned in the
, made by order of Henry VIII.
In , a new tower was erected on the side of the bridge, in addition to the gate or tower, called the traitor's gate, from the heads of state delinquents being set up on the top of it. This new gate was formed of timber, of curious construction, with circular turrets. It is engraved in the view of London, by Hollar, for Howell's
which is accurately copied in the annexed plate.
In the year , Peter Moris, a Dutchman, contrived a water-engine, or mill, to supply the citizens with Thames water. This machine at was made to force the water no higher than . This engineer obtained from the city a lease for years, at the yearly rent of , for the use of the Thames water, and arch and a place for sinking his mill upon. And the citizens, soon experiencing the benefit of this invention, granted him a like lease years after for another arch. By which means he grew very wealthy; and it continued in his family, under various improvements, until the year , when the property was sold to Richard Soams, citizen and goldsmith Moris having , at the purchaser's request, obtained another lease of the arch, for the further improvement of the said works, after selling the whole property thereof for Mr. Soams, to prevent all disputes with the citizens, then applied to the city for a confirmation of his bargain with Moris, and obtained a fresh lease from them for the term unexpired of Moris's lease, at the yearly rent of , and fine. After which he divided the whole property into shares, at each share, and made it a company. The wheels placed under the arches were moved by the common stream of the river.
In , the managers of the waterworks gave notice they were going to rebuild their largest water wheel; but on , an act was passed for their entire removal, with a view of improving London-bridge, or erecting a new . This act, after declaring that about years of the original grants to the company are unexpired, enacted, that the corporation of London should raise out of the bridge-house estates, for carrying the act into effect, of which should be paid to the proprietors of the water works, for rendering void their licenses, and transferring all the machinery, buildings, &c. to the company.
The bridge continued in a dilapidated state till the year , when on the an extensive fire destroyed the buildings from the north end of the bridge to the vacancy on both sides, containing houses.
Stow's account of this fire is as follows:
In the Gentleman's Magazine for , is a communication from Mr. Upcott of the , containing an extract from an original manuscript journal of remarkable providences, from to about , kept by Nehemiah Wallington, a puritan, citizen and turner, of London, who lived in , and who was evidently a friend of Prynn and Bastwick, having been examined concerning them before the Star Chamber.
says Mr. Upcott,
The account of this fire is particularly curious.
In , there was a most extraordinary phenomena, viz. tides at London-bridge within an hour and a half. From a rare tract of leaves, a copy of which is in the , the following is extracted:--
The next curious item respecting the bridge is a
to shoot, as out of a gun, boats with a man or boy in them, from side of the bridge to the other, without injury to boat or person. This the projector states in manner following; and heads his project with
He then solicits an ample subscription to enable him to exemplify his project, but, it appears, without success; for in , he proposes the following modification of his scheme, namely,
Nobody, it seems, was willing to be exploded in any such manner, and the end of the project was an appeal to the public, including a certificate of his ability to perform several of his projects, from Emanuel college, Cambridge, and ending with a copy of most lamentable verses, vindicating himself from his detractors.
says Mr. Maitland,
Nor had this ornament and glory of the city recovered from its ruinous condition in , when again it suffered in the general conflagration. Most of the buildings thereon being totally consumed, except a few at the south end, and the chapel: and the very stone-work, upon which they stood, was so battered and weakened thereby, that it cost the bridge-house to make good the damage of the piers and arches, before the leaseholders could attempt to rebuild the premises destroyed by the fire.
But the stone-work was no sooner secured, than a sufficient number of tenants offered; who conditioned with the bridgehouse for building-leases of years, at the rate of per foot running, yearly, and to build after such a form and substantial manner, as was prescribed: which was carried into execution so vigorously, that in years the north end was all completely finished, with houses stories high, and a street of feet broad between side and side. And then, in order to make the south end answerable thereto, the lord mayor, aldermen, and commoners, appointed for the letting of the city and
| bridge-house lands, measuring how many feet every proprietor had in the front of his house, considering what annual rent he paid to the bridge-house, and what number of years his lease had yet to run; then calling over those whose leases were expired, and those whose leases were near expiring; they treated with the proprietors to engage them to rebuild in the same form as the houses were finished at the north end of the bridge; purchasing at avaluable consideration such of the premises, as the tenants were not able to build; and allowing to those who agreed to build, not only a longer time to some of their leases, but an abatement of the rent, answerable to the cost of their rebuilding; besides laying out on the repairs of the piers and arches, on which the new houses were to be erected. In which state, completed in about years more, Mr. Maitland says |
The only house that was not taken down was at the north end, which had been constructed in Holland, and was called the Tower of London-bridge, or the Nonsuch, from its not having a single nail in it, but being pinned together with wooden pegs. Its situation was between the and arches of the present bridge, from the end. vacancies were left at equal distances, from which a view of the river might be obtained. The Nonsuch occupying the whole breadth of the bridge, the archway under it was raised to the height of stories, and over it the following inscription was placed:--
In the year , in the mayoralty of sir Gerrard Conyers, to preserve the passage free on the bridge, the court of lord mayor, aldermen, and common council, published the following order:
In the same year, and on the same day of the month (,) on which the draw-bridge, then decayed, had been laid just years before, (viz. ) the old draw-bridge was taken up, and a new began to be laid, which was completed within the short space of days.
of the latest fires that happened on London-bridge, took place , it broke out on the side of the bridge, and burned with great violence for some hours. The old bridge gate was so much damaged by this conflagration, that it was taken down the next year and rebuilt, being finished in .
This gate was decorated with the royal arms, under which
was inscribed |
At length, the city became sensible of the inconvenience of not having a proper footway, which had occasioned the loss of many lives, from the number of carriages continually passing; and the building leases being expired, a plan was projected for rebuilding the street, with a colonnade on each side, by which foot-passengers might pass in security, and be also sheltered from the weather; and this was partly carried into execution at the north-east end.
The dilapidated state of the tower on the south end of is exhibited in a clever painting of the east side of The bridge, by Samuel Scott, made about .
In the year the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council, considering the many lives that were lost through the narrowness' of the arches, and the enormous size of the sterlings, which took up - of the water-way, and occasioned the fall, at low water, to be no less than feet, as well as the great expence of repairing the bridge, which for several years had amounted to per annum, came to a resolution to take down the houses entirely, and to widen or more of the arches.
An act of parliament for the above purposes being obtained, in the year , orders were immediately given for taking down the houses on both sides of the bridge, and a temporary wooden bridge was erected upon the western sterlings, for the passage of carriages as well as persons on foot, till the intended alterations were completed. This was opened in . This temporary bridge was destroyed by fire, , but the interruption to the communication was not of long continuance, the damage being
|repaired in less than weeks. Another act of parliament was shortly after passed, for granting the city towards carrying on the work, which was completed in a short time, as it now appears; the center arches of the old bridge having been thrown into , for the convenience of vessels passing through. This alteration was carried into effect by sir Robert Taylor, architect to the , and Mr. Dance, surveyor of the Board of Works.|
On the opening of the great arch, the excavation around and under the sterlings was so considerable, that the bridge was thought to be in great danger of falling. Mr. Smeaton, the engineer, was then in Yorkshire, but an express was sent for him and he arrived with the utmost despatch; when the apprehensions of the bridge falling were so general, that few persons would pass over or under it. Mr. Smeaton having ascertained the state of the sterlings, and called the committee together, recommended that they should re-purchase the stones that had been taken from the middle pier, then lying in , and throw them into the river to guard the sterlings. Nothing shews the fears entertained for the stability of the bridge more than the alacrity with which his advice was adopted. The stones were repurchased that day, and on the following morning, though Sunday, the work commenced; which, in all probability, preserved the bridge from falling, and secured it until more effectual methods could be taken.
By a survey of the bridge, made in the year , it appeared, that the exterior part of the foundation, on which the stone piers are laid, consisted of huge piles of timber, driven close together, on the top of which were laid large planks, inches in thickness, whereupon the bases of the stone piers were laid, feet below the sterlings, and feet above the bed of the river.
It likewise appeared, that the lowermost layers of the original stones were bedded in pitch, instead of mortar, which appears to have been done with a view of preventing the water from damaging the work, till it was advanced above the high water mark; for the modern method of building within a caissoon, as was successively practised at the erecting of the bridges at and Blackfriars, was then totally unknown.
The income of the bridge-masters, in , appears to have been as follows: for the senior --the junior . , and the rental at Christmas, , was Is. In again became the subject of considerable inquiry and speculation. From the report made by the select committee upon the improvement of the port of London, it appears that after a minute survey of the bridge by Mr. Dance, the clerk of the works, that gentleman was convinced that provided the sterlings were kept in repair the structure was likely to stand for ages. The average cost of its repairs had exceeded annually for the last years, and the wardens account for the same period varied
|from to Attached to this report is an interesting plan of , taken ; a reduced copy of which is engraved in the plate.|
In the next year, a
was issued, from which it appears the committee collected information and provided designs for a new bridge; some of the plans were most extravagant and gigantic. A brief notice of the principal designs is as follows:
. Mr. Ralph Dodd proposed the erection of a stone bridge of arches, feet wide, and a centre of iron, feet span, and about feet high, to admit shipping up the river; the declivity of this bridge to extend from the upper corner of Monument-yard, to , .
. A design by the same engineer for a stone bridge, to be erected about yards above the ancient bridge, on the east side of Fishmongers'-hall, to consist of elliptical arches, the centre being feet span, and feet high, the succeeding feet span, and feet high, and the outer feet span, and in height. The whole was to be adorned with statues, columns, &c. and the estimated expence was
. Design for a large centre arch constructed of cast iron, with granite piers by Mr. S. Wyatt.
. This design was furnished by Mr. Robert Mylne (afterwards architect of Blackfriars-bridge,) who proposed a bridge of arches, the centre being feet above high high water mark, and feet wide.
. Mr. Thomas Wilson, architect of the celebrated bridge at Bishops Wearmouth, near Sunderland, made a design of a bridge of cast iron, of arches; the centre being feet span, and feet high, and the others of feet, breadth of roadway feet, and estimate for the iron work alone
Designs Nos. , , and , were furnished by Mr. Telford and Mr. James Douglas; the idea was diminish the ascent by increasing the length of the bridge on the Surrey side, and by placing the largest arch nearest the city shore. Their estimate, including some important improvements along the banks of the river, amounted to .; in a subsequent design they placed the great arch in the centre, the other design being particularly objectionable on account of its awkward appearance, and the inconvenience of its navigation.
. This design was by the last architects, and proposed a bridge of cast iron, to consist of arches decorated with statues, trophies, &c. The principal arch to be l feet span, and feet
|high. The estimates for this bridge and approaches to the wharfs on either side was .|
The last design was sent in by Mr. George Dance, architect to the city, and professor of architecture, in the Royal Academy. His design was to erect parallel bridges, with drawbridges for the passage of vessels, the space between the bridge was to be feet, furnished with mooring chains for securing the ships in tiers. Each end of the edifice was to be formed into a semicircular area, and the estimate, including the approaches, was
The committee ultimately recommended the re-building the bridge of iron, with acentre arch of at least feet above high water. Subsequently the committee considered the propriety of erecting an iron bridge of arch, feet span and feet in height, but from the diversity and contrary opinions given by many mathematicians and engineers, on the practicability of erecting such a structure, this design was ultimately abandoned.
On the conclusion of the great frost of , which did considerable damage to , the inquiry as to erecting a new bridge was recommenced. Messrs. Dance, Chapman, Alexander, and Montague, proposed substituting arches for of the present, the expence of which they estimated at ; but upon examining of the piers it was found to be impracticable.
In and a select committee of the house of commons was appointed to inquire into the propriety of erecting a new bridge as near as conveniently to the old ; and after a laborious investigation and a survey of the river from the present bridge to Old Swan Stairs, a bill was introduced into parliament to erect a new bridge and provide for approaches, which, on , received the royal assent. By this act the corporation were to receive the sum of from the treasury, additional funds being raised on credit of the bridge-house estates by mortgages, annuities, bonds, &c. The pile was driven near the southern end of the old bridge, .
The works are carried on by Mr. Rennie, the son of the eminent architect, who erected and made the design for the ; the contract for building the bridge is of which sum was given by the treasury in , for making the bridge feet wider than the original design. The form of the bridge is a flat segment, with elliptical arches, having plain rectangular buttresses standing upon plinths and straight flights of stairs, feet wide at each end.
It was expected that, in excavating the new foundation, several interesting antiquities would be discovered, but, exclusive of the silver statue of Harpocrates mentioned before, little of value has been discovered. The most numerous have been defaced. brass and copper coins of Augustus, Vespasian, and later Roman emperors, Nuremburgh counters, ancient iron keys, and silver spoons; also a spear head engraven on the shaft, and a dagger, which had once been gilt. The principal of these antiquities are in the possession of R. F. Newman, esq. and some curious dates are in the city library.
On Wednesday, the , the stone of the new bridge was laid; as the ceremonial was of an interesting description, a full and circumstantial account is presented.
At an early hour of the morning of , the vicinity of the new and old bridges presented an extraordinary appearance of activity and preparation.
So early as o'clock, the avenues leading to the old bridge were filled with individuals, anxious to behold the approaching ceremony, and shortly afterwards the various houses, which form the streets through which the procession was to pass, had their windows graced with numerous parties of well-dressed people. St. Magnus' church on the bridge, in the Borough, Fishmongers'-hall, and the different warehouses in the vicinity, had their roofs covered with spectators; platforms were erected in every nook from whence a sight could be obtained.
The wharfs on the banks of the river, between and , were occupied by an immense multitude. was crowded, and the river from thence to presented the appearance of an immense dock covered with vessels of various descriptions.
At o'clock was wholly closed, and at the same hour was thrown open, free of toll. At each end of barriers were formed, and no persons were allowed to pass, unless provided with tickets, and these only were used for the purpose of arriving at the cofferdam.
At o'clock, the barrier at the foot of the bridge on the city side of the river was thrown open, and the company, who were provided with tickets' for the coffer-dam, were admitted within it, and kept arriving till o'clock in quick succession. At that time the barriers were again closed, and no person was admitted till the arrival of the chief procession. By o'clock, however, most of the seats within the coffer-dam were occupied, with the exception of those reserved for the persons connected with the procession.
The interior of the works was highly creditable to the bridge committee. Not only were the timbers, whether horizontal or upright, of immense thickness, but they were so securely and judiciously bolted and pinned together, that the liability of any danger or accident was entirely done away with.
says Mr. Hone, who was present at this interesting ceremony,
The interior of the coffer-dam was ornamented with as much taste and beauty as the purposes for which it was intended would possibly admit. The entrance to the platform from the bridge, was fitted up with crimson drapery, tastefully festooned. The coffer-dam itself was divided into tiers of galleries, along which several rows of benches, covered with scarlet cloth, were arranged for the benefit of the spectators. It was covered with canvass to keep out the rays of the sun, and from the transverse beams erected to support it, which were decked with rosettes of different colours, were suspended flags and ensigns of various descriptions, brought from Woolwich yard; which by the constant motion in which they were kept, created a current of air, which was very refreshing. The floor of the dam, which is feet below the high water mark, was covered, like the galleries, with scarlet cloth, except in that part of it where the stone was to be laid. The floor is feet in length, and in breadth; is formed of beech planks, inches in thickness, and rests
|upon a mass of piles, which are shod at the top with iron, and are crossed by immense beams of solid timber. By o'clock all the galleries were completely filled with well-dressed company, and an eager impatience for the arrival of the procession was visible in every countenance. The bands of the horse guards, red and blue, and also that of the artillery company, played different tunes, to render the interval of expectation as little tedious as possible. In the mean time the arrangements at being completed, the procession moved from the court-yard, in the following order:--|
The procession moved up , and down Gracechurchstreet, to London-bridge, where they arrived at about a quarter past o'clock. Soon afterwards, several aldermen were seen winding in their scarlet robes through the mazes of the staircase, and in a very few minutes a great portion of these dignified elders of the city made their appearance on the floor below, the band above having previously struck up the from Next in order entered a strong body of the common-councilmen, who had gone to meet the procession on its arrival at the barriers. Independently of those that made their appearance on the lower platform, glimpses of their purple robes with fur trimmings were to be caught on every stage of the scaffolding, where many of them had been stationed throughout the day. After these entered the recorder, the common sergeant, the city solicitor, the clerk, the chamberlain, and other officers. These were followed by the duke of York and the lord mayor, advancing together, the duke being on his lordship's right hand. His royal highness was dressed in a plain blue coat with a star, and wore at his knee the garter. They were received with great cheering, and proceeded immediately up the floor of the platform, till they arrived opposite the place where the stone was suspended by a tackle, ready to be swung into the place that it was destined to occupy for centuries. Opposite the stone, an elbowed seat had been introducedinto the line of bench, so as to afford a marked place for the chief magistrate, without breaking in upon the direct course of the seats. His lordship, who was in his full robes, offered the chair to his royal highness, which was positively declined on his part. The lord mayor, therefore, declined seating himself, and stood supported on the right by his royal highness, and on the left by Mr. alderman Wood. The lady mayoress, with her daughters in elegant dresses, sat near his lordship, accompanied by fine-looking intelligent boys, her sons; near them were the lovely daughters of lord Suffolk, and many other fashionable and elegantly dressed ladies. In the train which arrived with the lord mayor and his royal highness, were the earl of Darnley, lord J. Stewart, the right hon. C. W. Wynn, M. P., sir G. Warrender, M.P., sir I. Coffin, M. P., sir G. Cockburn, M. P., sir R. Wilson, M. P., Mr. T. Wilson, M. P., Mr. W. Williams, M. P., Mr. Davies Gilbert, M. P., Mr. W. Smith, M. P., Mr. Holme Sumner, M. P., with several other persons of distinction, and the common-sergeant, the city pleaders, and other city officers.
The lord mayor took his station by the side of the stone, attended by gentlemen of the committee, bearing, the glass-cut bottle to contain the coins of the present reign, the
|an English inscription incrusted in glass; the the mallet, and the the level.|
The sub-chairman of the committee, bearing the trowel, took his station on the side of the stone, opposite the lord mayor.
The engineer, John Rennie, esq. took his place on another side of the stone, and exhibited to the lord mayor the plans and drawings of the bridge.
The members of the committee of management presented to the lord mayor the cut-glass bottle which was intended to contain the several coins.
The ceremony commenced by the children belonging to the ward's schools of Candlewick, Bridge, and Dowgate, singing
They were stationed in the highest eastern gallery for that purpose; the effect produced by their voices stealing through the windings caused by the intervening timbers to the depth below was very striking and peculiar. The duke of York joined in the national air with great enthusiasm.
The chamberlain delivered to his lordship the several pieces of coin; his lordship put them into the bottle, and deposited the bottle in the place whereon the foundation stone was to be laid.
The members of the committee bearing the English inscription on glasses, presented it to the lord mayor. His lordship deposited it in the subjacent stone.
Mr. Jones, sub-chairman of the Bridge Committee, who attended in purple gowns and with staves, presented the .lord mayor, on behalf of the committee, with an elegant silver-gilt trowel, embossed with the combined arms of the
and bearing on the reverse an inscription of the date, and design of its presentation to the right honourable the lord mayor, who was born in the ward, and is a member of the guild wherein the new bridge is situated. This trowel was designed by Mr. John Green, of , and executed by Messrs. Green, Ward, and Green, in which firm he is partner. Mr. Jones, on presenting it to the lord mayor, thus addressed his lordship:
The lord mayor having signified his consent to perform the ceremony, Henry Woodthorpe, esq. the town-clerk, who had lately obtained the degree of LL.D., held the copper plate about to be placed beneath the stone, with the following inscription upon it, composed by Dr. Coplestone, master of Oriel-college, Oxford; and late professor of poetry in that university.
The following translation was engraved on the reverse of the plate.
Dr. Woodthorpe having read the Latin inscription aloud, the lord mayor, turning to the duke of York, addressed his royal highness and the rest of the company, as follows:
The lord mayor's address was received with cheers. His lordship then spread the mortar, and the stone was gradually lowered by men at a windlass. When finally adjusted, the lord mayor struck it on the surface several times with a long-handled mallet, and proceeded to ascertain the accuracy of its position, by placing a level on the top of the east end, and then to the north, west and south; his lordship passing to each side of the stone for that purpose, and in that order. The city sword and mace were then placed on it in saltier; the foundation of the new London-bridge was declared to be laid; the music struck up the national
|anthem; and times excessive cheers broke forth from the company; the guns of the honourable artillery company, on the Old Swan wharf, fired a salute by signal, and every face wore smiles of gratulation. cheers were afterwards given for the duke of York; for old England; and for the architect, Mr. Rennie.|
It was observed in the coffer-dam as a remarkable circumstance, that as the day advanced, a splendid sun-beam, which had penetrated through an accidental space in the awning above, gradually approached towards the stone as the hour for laying it advanced, and during the ceremony shone upon it with dazzling lustre.
The lord mayor, with the duke of York, then retired in the same form as he arrived, and returned to the Mansion-house, where he gave agrand dinner in the Egyptian-hall, to guests; the duke of York being engaged to dine with the king, could not attend.
 P. 21, 12 mo. 1827.
 Stow's Survey of London.
 See vol. i. p. 54.
 This church, previous to the great fire in 1666, stood on the north side of the Poultry.
 Ann Waverl, 1176.
 M. 2, No. 9.
 Chronicles, p. 75.
 From Vertue's plans published by the Society of Antiquaries.
 From an engraving in the Gents. Magazine.-vol. xxiii, p. 432.
 Chronicles, p. 84.
 The erection of chapels on bridges is of the highest antiquity, and, no doubt, originated from the custom of making sacrifices on bridges, whence Plutarch has derived the word Pontifex. The most remarkable bridge of this sort was at Droitwich, in Cheshire, where the high road passed through the chapel and divided the congregation from the reading-desk and pulpit. The priests attached to the chapels were commissioned, as an indispensable part of their office, to keep the bridge in repair.
 Rec. Turr. Pat. 5, Hen. III. m. 43.
 See p. 68, vol. i. It was probably on this occasion, or one similar, that the curious song of London bridge is broken down, was made. In Mr. Ritson's Gammer Gurton's Garland, or A choice collection of pretty songs and verses, is a copy of this song; it is as follows: London-bridge is broken down, Dance o'er my lady Lee; London-bridge is broken down, With a gay lady. How shall we build it up again, Dance o'er my lady Lee; How shall we build it up again? With a gay lady. Silver and gold will be stolen away, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Silver and gold will be stolen away, With a gay lady. Build it up with iron and steel, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Build it up with iron and steel, With a gay lady. Iron and steel will bend and bow, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Iron and steel will bend and bow, With a gay lady. Build it up with wood and clay. Dance o'er my lady Lee; Build it up with wood and clay, With a gay lady. Wood and clay will wash away, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Wood and clay will wash away, With a gay lady. Build it up with stone so strong, Dance o'er my lady Lee; Huzza! 'twill last for ages long, With a gay lady. The author of the interesting and elegant Chronicles of London bridge, has printed a curious essay on this ballad, with the music to which it was either danced or sung, pages 145, 154.
 Liber Albus, fol. 130, a.
 See p. 44, vol. i.
 Chron. of London, Br. p. 157.
 Considerable extracts from this volume are printed in the Chronicles of London bridge, p. 252-256.
 Also printed in the Chronicles, p. 256-267.
 Chronicles, p. 508.
 Royal Lib, 16. F. ii.
 Chronicles of London Bridge, p. 304.
 Pennant's account of London, 4to. 322. There is a portrait of sir Edward Osborne, at Kiveton, the seat of the duke of Leeds, a half length on panel, his dress is a black gown furred, a red vest and sleeve, a gold chain, and bonnet. There is also an engraved portrait on wood, supposed to be unique, in the possession of sir J. St. Aubyn, bart.
 Chronicles of London Bridge, p. 316.
 Vol. 43, collection of Tracts presented to the British Museum, by George III.
 From a bronzed or copper medelet, on the obverse the engraving of the gateway above. Legend BRIDGE GATE, AS RE-BUILT, 1728 ; on the exergue, TAKEN DOWN, 1766. Reverse, a figure of justice.Chron. p. 387.
 These arms are still to be seen o the front of a public-house, at the west end of King-street, in the Borough.
 P. 467 ante.
 Engraved plate ii. & vii. of the plans and drawings belonging to the third report of the committee on the improvement of the port of London, folio 1800.
 Ibid. plate iii.
 Neither drawing nor estimate was sent in by this architect.
 Engravings of his plan. sections, &c. are in plate viii. of the work before referred to.
 Vol. i. p. 32.
 Hone's Ever Day Book, vol. i. col. 779.
 Engraved in the Chronicles of London bridge, p. 651.
|View all images in this book|
|CHAPTER I: History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second|
|CHAPTER II: History of London during the reign of George the Second|
|CHAPTER III: History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780|
|CHAPTER IV: History of London continued to the Union|
|CHAPTER V: History of London from the Union to the Jubilee, 1809|
|CHAPTER VI: History of London from the Jubilee to the Peace of 1814|
|CHAPTER VII: History of London continued to the accession of George the Fourth|
|CHAPTER VIII: Account of the Civil Government of the City by Portreves, Bailiffs, and Mayors, with a list of the latter...|
|CHAPTER IX: An account of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, with a list of the latter|
|CHAPTER X: Lists and brief Accounts of the various Officers and Courts within the City|
The Chamberlain of London
List of Chamberlains
The Common Serjeant
List of Common Serjeants
The Town Clerk, or Common Clerk
List of Town-Clerks
The Coroner of London
The City Remembrancer
The Water bailiff
The Lord Mayor's officers, and their days of waiting, according to the Pamphlet before referred to
The Sheriffs' Officers
The Court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen
The Court of Common Council
The Court of Husting
The Lord Mayor's Court
The Sheriffs' Courts
The Court of Orphans
The Coroner's Court
The Court of Escheator
The Court of Conservacy
The Court of Requests
The Court of Wardmote
The Chamberlain's Court
The Court of Hallmote
The Court of the Tower of London
|CHAPTER XI: Some account of the Ecclesiastical Government of the city of London, with a List and Biographical Notices of the Bishops of the see|
|CHAPTER XII: Some Account of the Military Government of London, and the Artillery Company|
|CHAPTER XIII: An Account of the twelve principal Companies of the City of London|
|CHAPTER XIV: An Account of the Companies of the City of London, alphabetically arranged|
Armourers and Braziers, 22
Coach and Coach Harness Makers, 79
Fan Makers, 84
Felt Makers, 64
Gold and Silver Wire-Drawers, 81
Hat-Band Makers, 75
Long Bow String-Makers, 82
Parish Clerks, 88
Tallow Chandlers, 21
Tylers and Bricklayers, 37
Tin-Plate Workers, 72
The Names of the Company of Pastelers from the Record in the Chapter-house
The Names of the Company of Sporyars from the Record in the Chapter House
|CHAPTER XV: An Account of the River Thames|
|CHAPTER XVI: Historical and topographical account of London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Thames Tunnel|
|CHAPTER XVII: Topographical and Historical Account of the Tower of London|