Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 3: London Bridge to Chelsea Bridge

An easy journey to my starting point today. Train to London Bridge and then walk through Hay's Galleria onto the Thames path at the London Bridge City Pier. Today I will be walking from the pier to Chelsea Bridge which is about 6 + miles. Frequently stopping to take photos means it will be a leisurely walk.

This  London Bridge was opened in March 1973 and only has 3 arches. The one prior to that had 5 arches and is now in America standing over a diverted river bed at Lake Havasu in Arizona. Until the 18th cent there was only one bridge over the Thames in the London area  which was in this location. Wooden bridges on the site go back to Roman times but the first stone bridge was completed in 1209.It had 19 stone arches. Later wooden shops and houses were built onto the arches.

 Across the river you just get a glimpse of the 202ft column of The Monument with the gilt urn on top, designed by Sir Christopher Wren to commemorate the great fire of London in 1666

 A closer view of London bridge as I walk up the steps to go around this building and under the bridge.

 Here is the road beneath the bridge.

Once under the bridge you walk past the Mudlark pub. It was established in the 1700s and was named after the people who made a living by collecting items they could sell from the mud on the river Thames.

Southwark Cathedral                     AD 606 - a convent
AD 1106 - a priory
AD1540 - a parish church
AD1905 - a cathedral


You can still see the masonry dating back over 1000 years.

Next to the Cathedral is Borough Market. A market here was first mentioned in 1276. The present market was built in 1851 and is said to be the oldest fruit and veg market in London. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations.

It is still quite early so not that many people around.

The newest building in the area, the Shard can be seen quite clearly from the market.

 This is St Mary Overie(over the river) dock. Until 1980 large warehouses stood on either side of the inlet.

The dock now holds a full size reconstruction of the Golden Hinde. The 16th cent ship in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the world. Today's version has also sailed the world.


 Cannon Street railway bridge constructed in 1865.

This is all that remains of the Palace of the Bishops of Winchester. This was the great hall with its rose window probably dating from the 14thcent.

The Clink prison is the name given to all prisons that have stood on a number of  sites in this vicinity. The first prison in 1127 was a  cellar in the Palace of Winchester and the last was in Deadman's Place (Park Street).

 The railway arches  beneath Cannon street bridge take you out to a modern wine tasting venue. Popular with stag and hen parties I am told.

Cannon Street Bridge


The Anchor, an 18th cent inn. Inside it has a number of timbered bars and cubby holes originally used by those hiding from imprisonment in the Clink. It is believed there were bull and bear baiting rings  in the area surrounding the pub.

 Southwark Bridge

Inside the passageway beneath Southwark bridge is an engaving describing the times the Thames froze over.

The original seat used by the ferrymen who would sit and wait for their customers to come out of the theatre or brothels. At that time there was only one bridge crossing the Thames so the ferry was the only other way to cross.

The Globe theatre, a reconstruction of the original theatre on this site where Shakespeare's plays would have been performed. It has a thatched roof - the first in London since the Great Fire in 1666. During May to September there is a programme of Shakespeare or his comtempories' plays. If you go make sure you take or hire a cushion for the very small, hard, wooden benches.

Next to the Globe and facing out to the Thames is Cardinal Wharf with the oldest houses in the area built in the 18th cent. This was built in 1710 and was supposedly used by Sir Christopher Wren during the building of St Paul's Cathedral.

Looking across the river you can see the Millennium bridge going from The Tate Modern art gallery on the South bank to St Paul's on the North bank

The tide is out at the moment exposing quite a lot of the river bed.
The Bankside power station which is now the Tate Modern Art Gallery.

Always plenty of buskers on the South Bank especially on a sunny day.

The Founder's Arms opened in 1980. It was named after a foundry, used by Wren, to cast all the iron work for St Paul's.
They have been working on the reconstruction of this bridge for at least two if not three years. They are making the original Victorian rail bridge stronger and wider to house platforms, a 250m roof and the world's largest array of solar panels on a bridge. It will have 4,400 panels generating 50% of the station's energy needs. It will be the first bridge over the Thames since the 13th cent to generate its own power. The old London bridge used water wheels to drive water pumps and grain mills.

The only other solar bridge known in the world is in Brisbane, Australia - the Kurilpa footbridge.

On the right is the Blackfriars railway bridge whilst on the left is the road bridge.

This is the cast iron crest of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway which was erected in 1864 on the  now derelict railway bridge.


  1. I learn so much from your walks! I just love all the history. I have been to the London Bridge in the desert in Arizona, even gone under it in a boat. It seemed so crazy and incongruous to see it there in the desert.

  2. The basket of what look like petunias in the photo after London Bridge Station is amusing. And now I know where the word 'clink' comes from.

  3. Woderful, I can see you writing a book when you have done this.

  4. Looks like a good day for a walk. Lots to see too!

  5. You made a lot of work of your walk to document it. Interesting to follow you. The part of the Globe and the Tate I remember of our last visit.

  6. great picture of the the London Bridge area..beautiful scenic historic area! I enjoy the details you put in like the walls. cheers

  7. The history you are passing is mind boggling. Thousand year old walls of a church...unbelievable. I didn't even know that the Kurilpa Bridge was solar powered I had to learn this from an English blog.

  8. It's so nice and interesting to see all these places walking virtually with you ! So many things to see !


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