BRIEF HISTORY DURING THE SNOW ERA (1813-58)
The original London Bridge was built of wood between AD 100 and 400. Over the ensuing the years the bridge was destroyed and rebuilt several times, until stone was finally used starting after 1176. Beginning in 1582, two arches of the bridge were outfitted with waterwheels for pumping drinking water. An accidental fire in 1633 destroyed half the bridge, including the arches with the waterwheels. By 1668-9 the pumping of drinking water resumed, and by 1761 four of the bridge's arches, all at the north end, had waterwheels in place. In 1767 a fifth waterwheel, known as the Borough wheel, was added at the southern end of the bridge for Southwark households (see bridge before 1823 below).
As part of a civic improvement project, competition started in 1799-1801 to create a new London Bridge. The winning design by John Rennie (1761-1821) was a bridge of five stone arches, upstream of the old bridge. Following the death of Rennie, his son (also named John) carried on and building started in 1824. The new bridge was opened in 1831. King William IV and Queen Adelaide came from Somerset House by state badge to participate in the river pageant and conduct the opening ceremony (see below). A year later, the old London Bridge was demolished. The city refused to allow the New London Bridge to be disfigured with the earlier waterwheels, ending the pumping of polluted drinking water from the River Thames arches.
Many years later in 1967-72 the London Bridge was again rebuilt. The 1831 bridge from John Snow's time was sold to developers in the United States and re-erected at Lake Havasu City, Arizona (see bridge in 2000 below).
Dickinson HW. Water Supply of Greater London, 1954.
Richardson J. The Annals of London, 2000.
Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.