Tram at Southwark Bridge

Tram 1849 at Southwark Bridge in 1950
The first trams were introduced into London in 1860 by the American George Francis Train. These early trams were originally led by horses, with the first one operating along Victoria Street in Westminster. In 1883 the West Metropolitan Tramways Company ran a Kew Bridge-Richmond horse drawn service, although these early trams were not without their faults. In 1861 Train was arrested for “breaking...

The River Thames

Southwark Bridge
For thousands of years the River Thames has played an important role in the development of England and to this day continues to delight and inspire millions of people. The politician John Elliot Burns (1858-1943) once described the Thames as “Liquid History,” a fitting tribute to a river whose tale stretches back so far. Old Southwark Bridge One of the earliest written accounts regarding the Thames...

The Millennium Bridge

The Millenium Bridge
In 1996 Southwark Council in conjunction with the Financial Times and the Royal Institute of British Architects organized a competition for the design of a new bridge across the Thames. The event was won by the dazzling “blade of light” design envisioned by Arup (engineers), Foster and Partners (architects) and Sir Anthony Caro (sculptor), and just four years later on June 10th 2000 the Millennium...

John Rennie

John Rennie (1761-1821) John Rennie was born in Phantassie near East Linton, East Lothian, in 1761, and was to become one of the greatest engineers of his generation. From an early age he began working for the esteemed millwright Andrew Meikle, a fellow Scot who invented the threshing machine, an agricultural device which separated husks from the grain. Having studied at Edinburgh University Rennie...

Sir Basil Mott

Blackfriars Bridge, London
Sir Basil Mott, 1st Baronet (1859-1938) Born in Leicester in 1859, Basil Mott was later educated in Switzerland before returning home to study at the Royal School of Mines (Imperial College London). In 1886 he began working on the City and South London Railway (C&SLR) on the instigation of J. H. Greathead, the great South African engineer whose contribution to the London Underground railway was...

Sir Ernest George

Southwark Bridge
Sir Ernest George (1839-1922) Born in 1839 Ernest George was an English architect who designed numerous houses throughout the country. Having studied art and architecture at the Royal Academy Schools, London, George proceeded to design homes such as Buchan Hill in Sussex, Stoodleigh Court in Tiverton and extended Rawdon House in Hertfordshire. In the 1870`s he went into partnership with the architect...

Sir William Arrol & Co.

Tower Bridge works in 1892
Tower Bridge works in 1892 Sir William Arrol & Co was a highly acclaimed civil engineering business established in the 1870`s. The company were responsible for building a number of bridges throughout the country, notably the Tay Rail Bridge, the Forth Rail Bridge, Southwark Bridge and Tower Bridge. The original Tay Bridge had of course collapsed just 18 months after it was opened in 1878, killing...

Southwark Bridge

Southwark Bridge is an arch bridge for traffic linking Southwark and the City across the River Thames in London. 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 the City Bridge Trust, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London. The south end of the bridge is near the Tate Modern, the Clink...

Removing the polythene wraps

This video clip from the 2nd June 2009 shows contractors removing the polythene wraps from the scaffolding which surrounds Span 5 of Southwark Bridge. Safety Boat support to this project is being provided by Livett’s Launches – River Thames Safety Boat.

Old Southwark Bridge

In May, 1811, a Bill was passed for the erection of a new bridge to cross the Thames about a quarter of a mile west of London Bridge, and to be known as Southwark Bridge. The work was undertaken by a private company, and the cost stated to have been about £800,000, though it would appear from contemporary records to have been considerably less. The architect, John Rennie, F.R.S. (who afterwards built...