Today marks the 40th Anniversary of London Bridge

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the rededication of John Rennie’s 1831 London Bridge – in Arizona.

As I am sure you should know, The City of London sold the old Victorian London Bridge in 1967 to the American, Robert McCulloch who wanted it as a tourist attraction for the new town he was building at Lake Havasu.

Contrary to popular myth, he never expected to end up with Tower Bridge, and was well aware of the difference between the two bridges.

The bridge was dismantled in 1968, and stored in Merrivale Quarry, Devon for a short time before being sent to the USA by cargo ship. Once in Arizona it was rebuilt again, on solid land, and then the current water channel dredged out from underneath it.

40 years ago today — on the 10th October 1971 — the bridge was opened again to the public in a huge rededication ceremony.

The locals are planning to hold a 40th birthday party, although not until Friday.

The funds from the sale of the bridge – some US$2 million — went to the Bridge House Estates, a nearly 1,000 year old trust fund that pays for the maintenance (and rebuilding) of the river bridges within the City of London at no cost to the tax payer.

The Bridges are indeed, all within the City of London – as the City boundaries include a tiny bit of land on the South Bank of the Thames where their bridges arrive.

While the old bridge is now firmly planted in the USA, bits of it remain in the UK.

A long way from London, in Sweltor Quarry also lie some remnants of London Bridge. When the Bridge was widened in 1902–04 from 52 to 65 feet, new stone was cut for it, and for some reason, not all of the stone was used. The remaining pieces lie in the quarry to this very day.

When the really old, old London Bridge was demolished, bit of that bridge were also sold off, and some of them can still be seen dotted around London.

Happy 40th Birthday — sort of — to John Rennie’s famous Bridge.


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7 Comments

  1. parktown

    Photos of London Bridge always face north, never the southbank.
    I need a photo of old St Olave’s Church [demolished 1920] – and do you think I can find one.
    Perhaps you know where I can…
    Thanks,

  2. Chris

    Blackfriars and London bridge are both within the city – griffins at the south ends. Southwark is divided down the centre between southwark and the city, tower bridge is also divided at the centre between tower hamlets and southwark.

    • Andrew

      Griffins? Dragons, surely?

  3. The last time I typed “London Bridge” into Google Maps it generated a shortcut to Arizona. Lake Havasu has been put more firmly on the map than perhaps it bargained for, but I wish they’d let us have it back now, since I don’t imagine anybody typing those words in would want to go anywhere but London.

  4. IFAN

    I have just bought a house 30 miles from London, around the grounds
    are 40No Granite pad stones from “London Bridge” . The guy who built the house was one of the contractors involved in its demolition and used these as
    seating areas around the 3 acre garden .They are 1 meter long and 600mm in depth and width, they must weigh half a tonne each . Need some inspiration for their future use. Are they worth anything?

    • IanVisits

      If you can prove their heritage – then they could be modestly valuable.

      A carved stone bench from the same period is going to be worth £500-£1000 so I would put a comparable price on a “lump of stone” used as a bench so long as it comes with a proven link to London Bridge.

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