diamond geezer

 Monday, December 07, 2020

Random City of London ward (5): Bridge



My fifth random ward is named after London Bridge, a key Thames crossing since Roman times, and encompasses the entire span as far as the south bank. The City's jurisdiction once stretched as far as Southwark to keep unruly locals in check, but Bridge Without was handed back in 1899 so I'm only interested in Bridge Within. [pdf map]

In common with many city wards a social club exists for the benefit of those who live or work here, mainly the latter, namely the Bridge Ward Club. Its website is well versed in the history of the ward and the main sights within, thus far more detailed than I intend to be here. Better still one of its former chairmen devised A walk in and around Bridge Ward, complete with map, so rather than wander round willy-nilly I followed that. Thanks Paul.




The circular tour begins at St Magnus the Martyr, a Wren church adrift alongside the Lower Thames Street dual carriageway. But it once watched over the most important entrance to the City, at the northern end of London Bridge, indeed an arch had to be cut through the bottom of its tower to improve pedestrian flow. This all changed when London Bridge was moved 30m upstream in 1831 so the churchyard's now a dead end, but it does contain chunks of stone from the 12th and 19th century bridges as well as a preserved timber from the first Roman wharf hereabouts. The interior is reputedly glorious, but alas I have an unerring habit of turning up while High Mass is taking place. [previous blogpost]



Time to wend up through a tiled stairwell - very 70s - to the latest London Bridge. A plaque outside Adelaide House commemorates the start of construction in November 1967 and another in the centre was unveiled by the Queen in March 1973. Views from the bridge are more iconic than the arched span itself, particularly downstream towards Tower Bridge, with the Shard totally dominating the skyline to the south. And whereas the City generally only extends to the middle of the river here it genuinely crosses to the far side, the point of transition marked by a plinth topped by a dragon. Administrative geography is a peculiar thing.



The broad span is still divided by hostile vehicle mitigation barriers introduced following the terrorist attack in 2017, while it was only last December that a knife attacker escaping from Fishmongers' Hall was disabled by a narwhal tusk. It's a lot quieter in 2020. The Hall remains an impressive building whether you pass it up top or at waterfront level, so our ward tour does both. Continue down the nearby steps to catch the statues in the courtyard and ogle the slabbed underside of the bridge deck before heading away from the river up essence-of-bland Swan Lane. Don't bother with the stumpy leftover pedway on the corner - the staircase ends at a triangular dead-end and is littered with roll-ups and excrement. [previous blogpost]



Fish Street Hill used to be the main thoroughfare leading from the end of London Bridge up into the City, but these days it's a sidelined semi-pedestrianised stub. But what it does contain, halfway up, is the City's famous memorial to the Great Fire of London. The Monument is still the tallest isolated stone column in the world, even 350 years later. It's also currently closed to visitors, the central spiral staircase being about as undistanceable as it gets. What Paul's tour of Bridge ward then inexplicably fails to do is visit Pudding Lane, 202 feet to the east, where the conflagration began. I'm amused that the Worshipful Company of Bakers put up a commemorative plaque at ground zero in 1986 despite it being the most calamitous disaster caused by any of their membership. [previous blogpost]



The northernmost slice of Bridge ward consists of two blocks sandwiched between Fenchurch Street and Eastcheap. To locate points of interest the tour resorts to disappearing up alleyways and dead-end cobbles. This brings us to a pub on the site of an old coaching inn (The Ship, reopening 2021), a gated ex-churchyard (now sole access to Fitness First) and a lone Georgian townhouse (4 Brabant Court, lovely). But the tour was devised in spring 2010 so never mentions the elephant in the room, the whopping curves of the 38-storey Walkie Talkie, which first thrust above street level in autumn 2011. The skyline looks much better if you imagine it isn't there.



I'm indebted to Paul's tour for leading me down Lovat Lane for the first time. The upper end is incongruous, even ugly, slipping downhill past the Dirty Martini nightclub. But then it morphs into a narrow crooked lane with lamps to light the way, granite setts underfoot and even a Wren church halfway down. Were this Lincoln or Salisbury you might expect gift shops and tea rooms on the descent, but instead there are small offices, doors to apartments and OK, yes, a single Venetian restaurant. Look out for the Walrus and Carpenter pub if entering at the foot of the hill.



Our circuit of Bridge ward ends with a hike across the City's most substantial section of pedway. A telltale twist of steps leads up from the end of Monument Street before following a gloomy veranda where the homeless feel able to leave their possessions during the day. Look out for the information panel confirming that this used to be the waterfront in Roman times. A slender footbridge then strikes out across Lower Thames Street to an extensive first floor terrace around (and through) St Magnus House. Elevated walking was thought to be the future in 1978, but these days tourists on the Thames Path need to be cajoled up to the windswept deck for fine views across the Pool of London.

Paul reckons an hour. I did it a bit quicker than that, un-a-Bridged.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain
#coronavirus

read the archive
May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv