The London Bridge
The London Bridge is probably the most famous bridge ever built. After being in songs and being rebuilt a number of times the London Bridge is also one of the oldest bridges. The first London Bridge was built by Romans sometime after 43 AD and some of its wooden remains have been uncovered on the north side of the river. During its life the wooden structure was renewed several times, and it was probably to this earliest bridge that the nursery rhyme ‘London Bridge is falling down’ refers. Indeed, at one time, one of these structures was washed away by a flood, and another was torn down by invading Vikings, led by Olaf the Norseman in 1014. The wooden structure was eventually replaced with a stone bridge that they started building in 1176 and had twenty arches and stone piers with a drawbridge. This took thirty years to complete and houses and shops were built on top to help pay for the cost of the bridge. In 1825 a new bridge, designed by John Rennie, was opened, as the old one could no longer cope with the increasing traffic. This bridge was widened in 1902, and was the bridge that Charles Dickens had in mind during Oliver Twist. The bridge was possibly the strangest major bridge to be built in medieval times. It was completely asymmetrical. Of its twenty arches, no two were identical. Nobody knows why. It could be that they had to locate the bridges piers where the riverbed was firmest, and ended up shifting each pier a few feet this way or that to build on the firmest ground. Or perhaps they designed each arch based on how much building material they had at the time. It seems certain that they built the piers and arches one at a time, since this was common practice (it reduced the requirement for scaffolding and framing materials; as each arch was completed, its scaffolding was moved to the next segment). The London Bridge is now currently now in Arizona. After Robert McCulloch bought it and re-built it over...
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