Address: Southwark, London SE1 9HL


350m from Cannon Street

300m from Mansion House

By the early 19th century London Bridge was getting increasingly busy and in May 1811 a Parliamentary Bill was passed to build a new bridge a quarter of a mile west of it. The new bridge was called Southwark Bridge after the area on the south bank of which Southwark Cathedral forms part.

Work began on the new bridge in 1813 and it opened in 1819. The architect was John Rennie who designed a cast iron bridge with three arches supported in the river by two huge stone pillars. It cost £800,000 and the centre span was one of the longest cast iron spans in the world at the time.

Whilst it was sited close to London Bridge it did little to relieve the congestion. The main reason was that it was a toll bridge with people understandably flocking to the free bridge a short distance away. It was also quite narrow and London Bridge also had the advantage of being part of a major road through the city. The bridge became toll free in 1864 and was purchased in 1868 by the City of London Corporation who had rented it.

With the tolls removed it became busier and when cars were invented there became a need to build a stronger, wider one. Work began in 1912, but due to the war was not completed until 1921. It was built by Sir William Arrol and designed by architects Ernest George and Alfred Yeates together with engineer Basil Mott.

Due largely to the fact that it’s not part of a major through road, the bridge today is one of the quietest in London. Some refer to it as the ‘car park bridge’ and coach drivers sometimes park on it.

The Financial Times building lies next to it on the south bank with the bridge leading over the Thames to a junction on the north side, being on a direct line into the middle of the financial district.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.