Thursday, October 06, 2011

Old London Bridge (and an ex-Lewisham icon)

The current London Bridge only dates back to 1973, and the one before to the 19th century. Old London Bridge proper lasted for around 600 years from the early 13th century and until the 18th century was lined with houses and shops. It was about 30m downstream (towards Tower Bridge) compared with the current bridge.

On the north side of the river, the bridge approach road passed in front of the church of St Magnus the Martyr. Today in the Church, among many other interesting features, there is a great model of the medieval bridge.

Outside the Church there are also some stones from the old bridge.

A Lewisham icon

Incidentally, the church also includes an icon, 'Our Lady of Perpetual Succour', painted in 1908 in Moscow and commissioned by Father Fynes-Clinton, rector at St Magnus' 1921-1959. The church website states that it was originally displayed in a chapel in All Saints, Lewisham. I assume this was All Saints on Blackheath rather than All Saints in New Cross (not aware of any other churches of this name in the borough).

Fynes-Clinton favoured closer links between the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and indeed was one of the founders of the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association in 1906, whose history states: 'It was a cold and windy night, the rain pelted down stair-rod like, whilst two Anglican clergymen met under a railway bridge in Lewisham in 1906. They were the Reverend Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton, an Assistant Curate at St Stephen’s Lewisham, an aristocrat; and Canon John A. Douglas, Vicar of St Luke’s, Camberwell, from a middle-class engineering family...Under that railway bridge in 1906 the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association, in its present form, was born'.


Deptford Pudding said...

Like the reference to the class of the two clergymen under the bridge!
I wonder why they didn't repair to a nearby hostelry.

Scott Wood said...

According to Peter Jackson's 'I Never Knew That About London' cartoon strip that model of Old London Bridge is actually made from an old piece of Old London Bridge.