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On This Day: Queen Elizabeth II opens the new London Bridge

Rebecca Lewis
15 March 2013
On This Day: Queen Elizabeth II opens the new London Bridge
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March 17: Queen Elizabeth II opened the new London Bridge on this day in 1973.

She arrived by boat nearby at the quay of Fishmongers' Hall, where Thames watermen were lined up ready to greet her.

After officially opening the impressive structure the Queen walked around the bridge, flanked by heavy police security.

Crowds watched on behind iron railings to catch a glimpse of the monarch.

The new bridge, which of course still stands today, was designed by architect Lord Holford and built by engineering company Mott, Hay and Anderson. Wider and stronger than its predecessors, it took five years to complete and re-established the link from the City of London to Southwark.

The first bridge built at this location can be pinpointed to 80AD, when Roman settlers built a timber construction.

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Since then a number of bridges have been and gone - notably a medieval stone bridge which stood for over 600 years until 1831. The bridge that replaced that old stalwart lasted for a while too - it can be seen being demolished in the Pathé clip above from 1968.

At the time of the clip 45 enquiries had been lodged to purchase the bridge, with 36 of those offers coming from America.

The narrator says, "Anybody want to buy a bridge cheap? It's a super saver at around half a million including storage, shipping and delivery."

Eventually the old bridge was sold, dismantled and rebuilt in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, America.



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