01Wencleslaus Hollar

02 H.W.Brewer, Old London Bridge from The Builder London, various dates before 1903. Brewer used Hollar's drawing/print of 1647. Brewer specialised in archaelogical reconstructions for The Builder magazine, even ascending in a balloon to ensure an understanding of site and possibility. Imagination and Understanding.

03 model made by Brewer for The Builder.

04 Brewer's drawing of Nonesuch House on the Bridge

05 Line guide to a model made by Brewer for The Builder.

06 Peter Spiers, London Bridge is Falling Down, undated c1968

07 Gustave Dore, Old London Bridge, from London- a Pilgrimage 1872 (Text by Blanche Jerrold)



DORIAN GERHOLD London Bridge and its Houses, biblio (BOOK)

John Norden, View of London Bridge, 395 x 530cmm 1597

John Norden, View of London Bridge, 395 x 530cmm 1597 detail

anon, Panoramic View of London, after 1666, published in Paris

Edward Osmond, The Thames Flows Down, 1957, 19 x 25

from Visscher's View of London 1616





1209 - construction completed of the first London Bridge.

1357, by this date 128 shops had been built on the Bridge as well as the two big Guard houses each end.

The stone supports of the piers were called 'starlings' and caused turbulence in the water. Thousands were lost in accidents, shooting the rapids.

1577 foundation stone laid for Nonesuch House, which neverthless was made from wood, starting with a timber frame from Holland.It survived when other constructions nearby tottered and was demolished c1757.

1623, first serious fire, with some slighter damage during the Great Fire of 1666.Merchants continued to build more constructions on the Bridge, and extend existing residences, often cantilevered out into the space above th river. The structures of the Bridge grew up piecemeal, and gradually constructed the throughfare, causing considerable congestion of traffic.

1762 the last houses cleared from the bridge and after 1789 it was decided to demolish the existing structure.

1831 the new London Bridge completed.

The present bridge was completed after 1972.


Pictorially it offers a fascinating sequence of navigational options, almost like the dramatis personae in a play (identified in the Builder's model, and the richness of the Spier illustration. There is great variety of structure, texture and colour in the outline. Peter Spier's book is much recommended and in particular a magical evocation of the Old Bridge at dusk. Doré's depiction is gloomy and encrusted , as was to be expected in such a pessimistic interpretation of the City of London (1872).





see To God and the Bridge, exhibition catalogue, Guildhall Art Gallery London 1972.

Galinou and Hayes. London in Paint, Museum of London 1996 lists several relevant images, e.g. Dutch School 1630 (3) and William marlow's Fresh Wharf, London Bridge, c1762, with houses and other excrescences trimmed.