Southwark Bridge is 100 years old

Southwark Bridge seen from the Thames Path in this weekend’s sunshine.

A hundred years ago today, on Tuesday 7 June, George V accompanied by Queen Mary arrived by carriage with a mounted escort to open Southwark Bridge.

The spans were designed to line up with those of London and Blackfriars Bridges.

Work on pulling down the first bridge, designed by John Rennie with just three arches, had begun six years before its centenary in 1919. However, the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 slowed progress and by 1917 all work had been halted.

The new bridge was designed by Basil Mott but the distinctive windows were added by Sir Ernest George who was present at the opening.

The Royal carriage drove over the bridge south from the City to Southwark and returned to Buckingham Palace by way of Westminster Bridge.

London SE1 news website has Tweeted a film of the 1921 opening and the anniversary lighting.

The first bridge, a toll crossing, was declared open in the middle of the night because of the company’s lack of funds.

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