London Bridge is famous for many reasons, including being a part of one of the most popular nursery rhymes in Britain. While falling down is certainly one of the most well-known facts about this bridge, there are other historic details that we think you ought to know.
We’ve put together a handy guide of fun history facts about London Bridge, so next time you get a train to London, you can show off everything you know to your friends and family members.
Here are our top five five interesting London Bridge facts.
It was built in 43 AD
Although there have been many, many versions of London Bridge over the years, its original construction was in 43 AD when the Romans needed a way to cross over the Thames. The first version was made up of a row of anchored boats with wooden planks connecting them together, so it comes as no surprise that it needed upgrading throughout its history.
London Bridge is falling down
The history behind London Bridge is falling down nursery rhyme is simple: London Bridge really did repeatedly fall down. There were many theories behind the specific origins of the nursery rhyme including:
• The shoddy medieval craftsmanship and materials used resulted in it constantly being repaired
• The Great Fire of London damaging the structures
• A Viking attack
• Ice damage in the 13th century
So, next time you hear the song about the history of London Bridge, you can show off your knowledge and tell those around you why it fell down.
There used to be buildings on it
In 1209, the first permanent stone version of London Bridge was built. This led to people erecting houses, shops, and a church on top of it but this resulted in many issues for Londoners. The houses were so tightly packed together that they formed a tunnel-like structure for those walking over it, which made it very congested as people tried to cross the river.
It is believed that at its busiest times, it could take someone an hour to walk across it.
You used to have to pay to walk across it
To manage the congestion, London’s city corporation introduced a toll to cross, with the price rising for carriage access. The traffic was then organised to walk on the left-hand side of the path depending on which direction you were travelling in.
You may be thinking why didn’t they just build more bridges? The reason won’t surprise you. The city corporation was making so much money off toll charges that they didn’t want people using another bridge to cross for free.