London Bridge and its houses, c.1209-1761

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London Bridge and its houses, c.1209-1761

November 5 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm


London Bridge and its houses, c.1209-1761

Lecture by Dorian Gerhold FSA

New evidence about London Bridge and its houses in the seventeenth century, especially dimensions, makes it possible to reconstruct a plan of the bridge and houses. With this plan, and the rentals of the bridge houses, the houses and house plots can be traced back to the first survey of the houses, in 1358, only a century and a half after the bridge was built. This provides new information about the bridge and its development in the following respects:

  • The structure of the bridge, including a greater width than previously believed, and the long piers which made large buildings possible (either by building directly on the piers or by relying on ‘hammer beams’ laid between the piers);
  • The original, regular arrangement of houses about 10 feet wide, occupying the same area in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as in the seventeenth, apart from a gap between the stone gate and the drawbridge tower; also cross buildings or ‘hautpas’ over the roadway at first-floor level in the same places as in the seventeenth century;
  • The rebuilding of houses over time, making them wider, deeper and taller, including a major period of rebuilding from 1477 to 1548;
  • The quality of the architecture of the sixteenth century, including Nonsuch House of the 1570s, now know to have had one of the first classical facades in England, designed by the Queen’s Surveyor of the Works;
  • The internal layout of the houses, revealed by leases, including the unexpected arrangement of halls and kitchens;
  • The trades carried out on the bridge, which was one of London’s four or five main shopping streets, and how they changed from the late fourteenth century to the mid-eighteenth;
  • The rebuilding of 1683-96, by which the City contrived to widen the roadway to 20 feet without having to pay anything;
  • The circumstances which led to the removal of the houses in 1757-61.

The lecture will provide a new understanding of one of the most important buildings of medieval and later London, which was larger and more impressive than previously thought and was an important aspect of London’s identity. It will be based on my book published in July 2019 by the London Topographical Society.

Please note that due to COVID 19 restrictions we are unsure if this event will be held at Burlington House or just live streamed. Moving forward all our lectures will be live streamed so booking is recommended to recieve the live stream link. If attendance at Burlington House is feasible it will be limited and allocated through the booking link below. 

Attendance by Live Stream:

  • Registration is essential.
  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows and Non-Fellows.
  • Once you have registered we will be in touch regarding how you can join via Zoom video-calling.
  • The event will also be live-streamed to YouTube here, so you can watch along if you prefer
  • Places through zoom will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The event will begin at 17.00, GMT.
  • You will recieve an email with the link to join the day before the lecture.
  • Attendees’ cameras and microphones will be off throughout.

Attending Burlington House:

  • Registration is essential.
  • Those attending in person will be subject to temperature checks and will have to wear masks in the Meeting Room.
  • There will be no refreshments.
  • There will be no access to the Library or Fellows Room.
  • Admittance to the event is only 20minutes prior.
  • Fellows can not bring guests.

If you have any questions please contact our Communications Manager on [email protected]


Get tickets online


November 5
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Categories:


Society of Antiquaries of London
Burlington House, Piccadilly
London, W1J 0BE United Kingdom
020 7479 7080


Society of Antiquaries of London
020 7479 7080