Thames Tour – Southwark Bridge, Bradshaw’s HandBook, no.107

The next bridge after London Bridge is the Cannon Street Railway Bridge which was designed by John Hawkshaw and John Wolfe-Barry for the South Eastern Railway and built 1863-66, slightly after Mr Bradshaw’s Guide.

Cannon Street Station & Bridge from the Thames, 19C (www.memoryprints.com)
Cannon Street Station & Bridge from the Thames, 19C (www.memoryprints.com)
Cannon Street c.1913 (www.nrm.org.uk)
Cannon Street c.1913 (www.nrm.org.uk)
Looking down Cousin Lane towards Cannon Street Bridge
Looking down Cousin Lane towards Cannon Street Bridge
Cannon Street Station & Railway Bridge today
Cannon Street Station & Railway Bridge today

Mr Bradshaw points out that Southwark Bridge, ‘..commenced in 1814 and completed in 1819. The iron used in its construction was cast in Rotherham, in Yorkshire, [by Walkers].’ The bridge was ‘..opened by lamp-light, March 24th, 1819, as the clock of St. Paul’s Cathedral tolled midnight.’ The bridge was known as ‘The Iron Bridge’ and had the longest single iron span ever cast – 240 feet. A toll bridge until 1864, the bridge was built to relieve traffic congestion at London Bridge but it was not successful.

Rennie's Southwark Bridge (Wikipedia)
Rennie’s Southwark Bridge (Wikipedia)

Southwark Bridge no.2 is today’s bridge and opened in 1921. It was designed by Ernest George and Basil Mott. It was built by Sir William Arrol & Co. Why was the Rennie bridge replaced? It seems there was dissatisfaction because of the steep gradient and the narrowness of the bridge. Southwark Bridge no.2 was wider and less steep.

Southwark Bridge
Southwark Bridge
Southwark Bridge
Southwark Bridge

‘..Towards the middle of the western side of the bridge used to be a descent from the pavement to a steam-boat pier..’. I didn’t find this point or the steps about which I have read.

‘About here may be seen the steam-dredging engines, which maintain the depth of the river and free it from obstructions. The consist of iron frames with buckets and cutters made so as to scoop the bed of the river’, says Mr Bradshaw. Dredging continues and interesting article here.

Steam Powered Bucket Dredger PLA No.7, c.1920 (www.museumoflondonprints.com)
Steam Powered Bucket Dredger PLA No.7, c.1920 (www.museumoflondonprints.com)

You may be interested in
Trevithick’s Steam Dredging Engine
Heritage Explorer – images for learning
Cannon Street – interesting article
Walkers of Rotherham
Dredging and wild life in the Thames

 

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