Fact of the day: 1st August

On this day in 1831 a new London Bridge opened.

By the end of the 18th century, it was apparent that the old London Bridge — by then over 600 years old — needed to be replaced.

It was narrow and decrepit, and blocked river traffic. In 1799, a competition for designs to replace the old bridge was held.

Entrants included Thomas Telford, whose proposal of a single iron arch spanning 600 feet (180 m) was rejected as unfeasible and impractical.

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John Rennie won the competition with a more conventional design of five stone arches.

It was built 100 feet (30 m) west (upstream) of the original site by Jolliffe and Banks of Merstham, Surrey, under the supervision of Rennie’s son.

Work began in 1824 and the foundation stone was laid, in the southern coffer dam, on 15 June 1825.

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