Medieval inhabited bridge (London Bridge, 16th century)

Medieval inhabited bridge (London Bridge, 16th century)

In the Tudor Era around 200 buildings were built on the bridge across the River Thames.

History

Keywords

inhabited bridge, Thames, dwelling, medieval, bridge, transportation, England, drawbridge, Great Britain, London, Middle Ages, House of Tudor, chapel, trade, watermill, water wheel, arch, shops, gatehouse, built-in, lifestyle, modern history, 16th century, history

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Scenes

  • - St. Thomas Chapel The building was two stories high and was accessible from both the bridge level and the river. In 1548, it was converted into a dwelling house, then later a warehouse.

Narration

The construction of London Bridge began in 1176, during the reign of Henry II. The construction works took a long time and the costs were extremely high. It was completed in 1209, during the reign of King John Lackland. The resulting bridge was a unique architectural masterpiece at that time. The bridge was densely inhabited, with over a hundred houses and shops built on it; it was a separate district in Medieval London.

The bridge measured about 8 m (26 ft) in width and 250-300 m (820-980 ft) in length. In the center, there was a 2 m (6.6 ft) wide road, which connected to two banks of the Thames. The pillars of the bridge were linked by spectacular arches. The foundations of the bridge heads were not on the shore, but in the riverbed.

Gatehouses were built on the bridge heads and in the middle. On the two ends, there were wooden drawbridges. At the southern end of the bridge, the spiked heads of executed traitors offered an alarming sight. In the Tudor era, there were nearly 200 buildings on the bridge. Because of the increased traffic, the road was widened and divided into two lanes. Fire often hit the bridge, as the roofs were built of timber.

At the end of the 18th century, it became necessary to replace the almost 600-year-old bridge. The new, iron structure was opened in 1831. In the same year, the old bridge was demolished, today only a few of its elements are displayed in the parks of London.

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