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Southwark Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral
|Locale||Southwark, London, England|
|Maintained by||Bridge House Estates,
City of London Corporation
|Total length||800 feet (243.8 m)|
|Width||55 feet (16.8 m)|
|Longest span||240 feet (73.2 m)|
|Heritage status||Grade II listed structure|
Southwark (Br [ˈsʌðɨk]) Bridge is an arch bridge in London, England, for traffic linking the district of Southwark and the City across the River Thames. It was designed by Ernest George and Basil Mott. It was built by Sir William Arrol & Co. and opened in 1921. The bridge is owned and maintained by Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation.
A previous bridge on the site, designed by John Rennie, opened in 1819, and was originally known as Queen Street Bridge, as shown on the 1818 John Snow Map of London. The bridge consisted of three large cast-iron spans supported by granite piers. It was known as the "Iron Bridge" in comparison to London Bridge, the "Stone Bridge". The bridge was notable for having the longest cast iron span, 240 feet (73 m), ever made. Initially tolls were charged to cross the bridge, but it became toll free in 1864.
Halfway along the bridge on the Western side is a plaque which is inscribed:
Re-built by the Bridge House Estates Committee
of the Corporation of London
Opened for traffic by their Majesties
King George V and Queen Mary
6th June 1921
Sir Ernest Lamb CMG, JP Chairman
Basil Mott, CB Engineer
Sir Ernest George RA Architect
The bridge provides access to Upper Thames Street on the north bank and, due to the ring of steel, there is no further road access to the City and the north. This has led to its reputation of being the least used bridge in central London.
At the north-west side is Vintners Court, a 1990s office block which has a classical facade of columns and pediment; this was developed on the site owned by the Worshipful Company of Vintners whose Hall is behind it on Upper Thames Street; the style was chosen to compliment the north-west end of London Bridge at which is the Fishmongers Hall. Nearby is Cannon Street station.
The south end is near the Tate Modern, the Clink Prison Museum, the Globe Theatre, and the Financial Times and Ofcom buildings. Below the bridge on the south side are some old steps, which were once used by Thames watermen as a place to moor their boats and wait for customers. Southwark Bridge was built into the steps.
Southwark Bridge is mentioned in the work of Charles Dickens, for example in Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend, and there was a recreation of the old bridge made for the 2008 Little Dorrit (TV serial).
It appears in many films but plays a central role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The cream painted houses on the south side of the bridge, just after the FT building, were used for the exterior shots of the shared house in This Life.
- "Southwark", in The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World (1952), New York: Columbia University Press.
- Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide
- Sir Howard Roberts and Walter H. Godfrey, ed. (1950). "Survey of London: volume 22: Bankside". pp. 88–90. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- Details from listed building database (435467) . Images of England. English Heritage. accessed 27 November 2008
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