Old London Bridge

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A view of London Bridge circa 1600. Arches 6-10, centre of bridge.


From a photo-chromolithograph made for the New Shakspere Society, from a drawing in Pepys' Collection at Magdalene College, Cambridge. This is reputed to be the earliest genuine view of London Bridge.



 Note the two water buckets hanging from long ropes under the two right hand arches. The exterior construction of the buildings seems to be mostly of wood.





The bridge was built from 1176 to 1209. The Middlesex side is on the left, the Surrey side on the right. For a long period it was the only bridge across the Thames in London. On the Surrey side heads of traitors were stuck on poles above Southwark tower, and may be seen in the drawing. Parts of the bridge were continually collapsing, due to inadequate maintenance. Revenues for its upkeep, derived from toll charges, rents etc., were usually appropriated for other more frivolous purposes. Henry III is reputed to have given all the revenues to his wife to spend as she pleased. In the fourteenth century five arches fell into the river after a particularly hard winter. The bridge was finally abandoned by the Victorians, being deemed beyond economic repair.



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General notes

Sonnets 1 - 50

Sonnets 51 - 100

Sonnets 101 - 154