Old London Bridge



The amazing web site of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Shakespeare's London. London Bridge.



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A view of London Bridge circa 1600 A.D. The final arches on the Surrey side.

Scroll right and left or up and down to see the full picture.


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.


The castle type building on the third pier from the Surrey side was built circa 1577-79.

On the next pier is Southwark, or Traitor's Gate, built at the same time.

Here were placed on poles the heads of executed traitors, several of which may be seen in the drawing.

The last two arches on the Surrey side are occupied by Southwark corn-mills, built c. 1588.

Most of the buildings on the bridge were dwelling houses and shops.





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