The greatest and longest lived of Londons bridges was Old London Bridge . Built by Peter Colrchurch, work began in 1176. It was one of the wonders of the medieval age, with shops, houses and even a church built upon it. For six hundred years the bridge witnessed some of the great moments of London from the peasants revolt to the great fire of London. In the Tudor period there were 200 buildings on the bridge including some such as Nunsuch house that were seven stories high. Today nothing remains or can be found existing of this wonderful London icon
The houses and Shops were swept away in 1758-62 by act of parliament and two central arches demolished and replaced by a single span. Pedestrian alcoves were spaced at intervals along the bridge. The Gatehouse that had defended London on the southern end remained . Tragically in 1799 a competition was held for a design for a new bridge and the old was finally demolished and replaced by one designed by John Rennie.
So what remains of that old wonderful structure. Relics can still be seen . Two of the best are from the 18th century alterations. A fabulous George III coat of arms that once sat above the southern gate house can be seen on the Kings Arms Pub Newcomen St Southwark. If you go to Victoria park two of the alcoves mentioned above can also be seen. Another can bee seen in the courtyard of Guys hospital and a fourth stands in the grounds of Courtlands in East Sheen.
John Rennies bridge also had to be replaced and when it was in 1968 it headed of over the pond to Arizona where it can still be seen.
Jone Rennie also designed and built Old Waterloo bridge and when that was demolished in 1935 no such fate awaited it. Some of the stones were sent to Australia and New Zealand for use in other bridges and structures. But most was lost. The Balusters that ran the length of the bridge were sold off for one pound each. One of these can be seen in Antrim park, Belsize park. Tales From The Rookery has acquired another that has been converted to a sundial. I wonder how many gardens in London conceal others that their owners are unaware of ?