London Bridge lined with houses from end to end was one of the most extraordinary structures ever seen in London. It was home to over 500 people, perched above the rushing waters of the Thames, and was one of the city’s main shopping streets. It is among the most familiar images of London in the past, but little has previously been known about the houses and the people who lived and worked in them. This book uses plentiful newly-discovered evidence, including detailed descriptions of nearly every house, to tell the story of the bridge and its houses and inhabitants.
With the new information it is possible to reconstruct the plan of the bridge and houses in the seventeenth century, to trace the history of each house back through rentals and a survey to 1358, revealing the original layout, to date most of the houses which appear in later views, and to show how the houses and their occupants changed during five and half centuries. The book describes what stopped the houses falling into the river, how the houses were gradually enlarged, what their layout was inside, what goods were sold on the bridge and how these changed over time, the extensive rebuilding in 1477-1548 and 1683-96, and the removal of the houses around 1760.
There are many new discoveries - about the structure of the bridge, the width of the roadway, the original layout of the houses, how the houses were supported, the size and internal planning of the houses, the quality of their architecture, and the trades practised on the bridge. The book includes five newly-commissioned reconstruction drawings showing what we now know about the bridge and its houses.