Monday, August 1, 2016

Opening the New London Bridge, August 1831

Monday, August 1, 2016
London Bridge 1 August 1831

Loretta reports:

Usually, I start the month with fashion plates, but today’s the 185th anniversary of the opening of the “new” London Bridge. So we'll look at that instead, in pictures and text, since it isn't in London anymore.

The bridge, as many are aware, has had several incarnations.

On this day in 1831, King William IV officially opened, with great pomp and ceremony, the version that’s since moved—more or less—to Arizona.
You can read a short summary of its life hereand a lengthy account in the Gentleman’s Magazine starting here.

London Bridge ca 1890-1900
You may not feel up to an early 19th century detailed report on the bridge’s history and construction, along with a blow-by-blow description of the opening ceremony. These lengthy accounts are tough on modern readers. But this sort of thing was what readers wanted, in the days before photography, let alone television. If the whole article is too much for you, you might still want to take a look at the very nice bird’s eye view engraving here.

Image above left: The New London Bridge as it appeared on Monday August 1st, 1831, at the Ceremony of opening by their Majesties, courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

Below right: London Bridge ca 1890-1900, courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


Actonbooks said...

Hi and thanks for the 'new' London Bridge piece. I did read the long Gentleman's Magazine piece and was fascinated by a tiny reference to the entertainment hired to keep the crowds occupied in the four hours till the king showed up.
They included the 'famous chin musician' Michael Boai. I did some research and wrote about him at Fresh from a European tour, Boai played famous classical pieces and favourites such as the national anthem by repeatedly hitting himself in the mouth. Yes, really...

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