The Coal Shed Contact Us | Get in touch with the team
Photo: Bridges do more than simply bear loads: with soaring towers and graceful spans, Bridges certainly do fall down from time to time, and quite of wind, which can set up a twisting force, called torsion, in the bridge deck. .. cope with forces several times larger than they're ever likely to encounter. Southwark is a district of Central London and part of the London Borough of Southwark. Situated 1 1⁄2 miles ( km) east of Charing Cross, it forms one of the oldest parts of London and fronts the River Thames to the north. It historically formed an ancient borough in the county of Surrey, made up of Southwark was also simultaneously referred to as the ward of Bridge Without. Tower Bridge lifts 1, a year which is a rough average of three times a day. When the bridge opens fully, the bascules are at 86 degrees but it does not open fully for all vessels. Use the Tower Bridge Lift Timetable posted on the official website to plan your visit (and photo.
The relationship was often tense between the City and the Crown. The City of London had been a stronghold of republicanism during the Civil War —and the wealthy and economically dynamic capital still had the potential to be a threat to Charles II, as had been demonstrated by several republican uprisings in London in the early s. The City magistrates were of the generation that had fought in the Civil War, and could remember how Charles I's grab for absolute power had led to that national trauma.
Even in such an emergency, the idea of having the unpopular Royal troops ordered into the City was political dynamite. By the time that Charles took over command from the ineffectual Lord Mayor, the fire was already out of control. The tenement housing on London Bridge far right was a notorious death-trap in case of fire; much would be destroyed in a fire in It had experienced several major fires beforethe most recent in Building with wood and roofing with thatch had been prohibited for centuries, but these cheap materials continued to be used.
These parishes contained workplaces, many of which were fire hazards— foundriessmithiesglaziers —which were technically illegal in the City but tolerated in practice. The human habitations were crowded to bursting point, intermingled with these sources of heat, sparks, and pollution, and their construction increased the fire risk. The typical six- or seven-storey timbered London tenement houses had " jetties " projecting upper floors. They had a narrow footprint at ground level, but maximised their use of land by "encroaching" on the street, as a contemporary observer put it, with the gradually increasing size of their upper storeys.
The fire hazard was well perceived when the top jetties all but met across the narrow alleys; "as it does facilitate a conflagration, so does it also hinder the remedy", wrote one observer  —but "the covetousness of the citizens and connivancy [corruption] of Magistrates" worked in favour of jetties. InCharles II issued a proclamation forbidding overhanging windows and jetties, but this was largely ignored by the local government.
Charles's next, sharper message in warned of the risk of fire from the narrowness of the streets and authorised both imprisonment of recalcitrant builders and demolition of dangerous buildings.
It, too, had little impact. The river front was important in the development of the Great Fire. The Thames offered water for firefighting and the chance of escape by boat, but the poorer districts along the riverfront had stores and cellars of combustibles which increased the fire risk. All along the wharves, the rickety wooden tenements and tar paper shacks of the poor were shoehorned amongst "old paper buildings and the most combustible matter of tarr, pitch, hemp, rosen, and flax which was all layd up thereabouts.
Much of it was left in the homes of private citizens from the days of the English Civil War, as the former members of Oliver Cromwell 's New Model Army still retained their muskets and the powder with which to load them.
Five to six hundred tons of powder was stored in the Tower of London. There was no police or fire brigade to call, but London's local militiaknown as the Trained Bandswas available for general emergencies, at least in principle, and watching for fire was one of the jobs of the watcha thousand watchmen or "bellmen" who patrolled the streets at night.
Public-spirited citizens would be alerted to a dangerous house fire by muffled peals on the church bells, and would congregate hastily to fight the fire. The methods available for this relied on demolition and water. By law, the tower of every parish church had to hold equipment for these efforts: This drastic method of creating firebreaks was increasingly used towards the end of the Great Fire, and modern historians believe that it was what finally won the struggle.
It had been noted as a deathtrap in the fire of and, by dawn on Sunday, these houses were burning. Samuel Pepys observed the conflagration from the Tower of London and recorded great concern for friends living on the bridge. Once the riverfront was on fire and the escape route cut off by boat, the only exits were the eight gates in the wall.
During the first couple of days, few people had any notion of fleeing the burning City altogether. They would remove what they could carry of their belongings to the nearest "safe house", in many cases the parish church or the precincts of St Paul's Cathedral, only to have to move again hours later.
Some moved their belongings and themselves "four and five times" in a single day. The crucial factor which frustrated firefighting efforts was the narrowness of the streets.
Even under normal circumstances, the mix of carts, wagons, and pedestrians in the undersized alleys was subject to frequent traffic jams and gridlock. During the fire, the passages were additionally blocked by refugees camping in them amongst their rescued belongings, or escaping outwards, away from the centre of destruction, as demolition teams and fire engine crews struggled in vain to move in towards it.
Demolishing the houses downwind of a dangerous fire was often an effective way of containing the destruction by means of firehooks or explosives. This time, however, demolition was fatally delayed for hours by the Lord Mayor's lack of leadership and failure to give the necessary orders. The use of water to extinguish the fire was also frustrated. In principle, water was available from a system of elm pipes which supplied 30, houses via a high water tower at Cornhillfilled from the river at high tide, and also via a reservoir of Hertfordshire spring water in Islington.
Further, Pudding Lane was close to the river. Theoretically, all the lanes from the river up to the bakery and adjoining buildings should have been manned with double rows of firefighters passing full buckets up to the fire and empty buckets back down to the river. This did not happen, or at least was no longer happening by the time that Pepys viewed the fire from the river at mid-morning on the Sunday. Pepys comments in his diary that nobody was trying to put it out, but instead they fled from it in fear, hurrying "to remove their goods, and leave all to the fire.
The resulting conflagration cut off the firefighters from the immediate water supply from the river and set alight the water wheels under London Bridge which pumped water to the Cornhill water tower; the direct access to the river and the supply of piped water failed together.
London possessed advanced fire-fighting technology in the form of fire engineswhich had been used in earlier large-scale fires. However, unlike the useful firehooks, these large pumps had rarely proved flexible or functional enough to make much difference. Only some of them had wheels; others were mounted on wheelless sleds. The piped water had already failed which they were designed to use, but parts of the river bank could still be reached. Gangs of men tried desperately to manoeuvre the engines right up to the river to fill their reservoirs, and several of the engines toppled into the Thames.
The heat from the flames by then was too great for the remaining engines to get within a useful distance; they could not even get into Pudding Lane. Development of the fire[ edit ] The personal experiences of many Londoners during the fire are glimpsed in letters and memoirs.9 Types of Hugs Will Shed Light on Your Relationship
The two best-known diarists of the Restoration are Samuel Pepys —  and John Evelyn — and both recorded the events and their own reactions day by day, and made great efforts to keep themselves informed of what was happening all over the City and beyond.
Sunday morning[ edit ] Approximate damage by the evening of Sunday, 2 September  "It made me weep to see it. After two rainy summers in andLondon had lain under an exceptional drought since Novemberand the wooden buildings were tinder-dry after the long hot summer of The family was trapped upstairs but managed to climb from an upstairs window to the house next door, except for a maidservant who was too frightened to try, who became the first victim.
The householders protested, and Lord Mayor Sir Thomas Bloodworth was summoned, who alone had the authority to override their wishes. When Bloodworth arrived, the flames were consuming the adjoining houses and creeping towards the paper warehouses and flammable stores on the riverfront.
The more experienced firemen were clamouring for demolition, but Bloodworth refused on the grounds that most premises were rented and the owners could not be found. Bloodworth is generally thought to have been appointed to the office of Lord Mayor as a yes manrather than by possessing requisite capabilities for the job. He panicked when faced with a sudden emergency  and, when pressed, made the oft-quoted remark, "Pish!
A woman could piss it out", and left. After the City had been destroyed, Samuel Pepys looked back on the events and wrote in his diary on 7 September He recorded in his diary that the eastern gale had turned it into a conflagration.
It had burned down several churches and, he estimated, houses and reached the riverfront. The houses on London Bridge were burning. He took a boat to inspect the destruction around Pudding Lane at close range and describes a "lamentable" fire, "everybody endeavouring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that lay off; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the water-side to another.
So I was called for, and did tell the King and Duke of Yorke what I saw, and that unless His Majesty did command houses to be pulled down nothing could stop the fire. They seemed much troubled, and the King commanded me to go to my Lord Mayor from him and command him to spare no houses, but to pull down before the fire every way.
He saw some refugees arrive in hired lighter boats near Westminster Stairs, a mile west of Pudding Lane, unclothed and covered only with blankets. Sunday afternoon[ edit ] The fire spread quickly in the high wind and, by mid-morning on Sunday, people abandoned attempts at extinguishing it and fled.
The moving human mass and their bundles and carts made the lanes impassable for firemen and carriages.
Bridge Lift Times | Tower Bridge
Pepys took a coach back into the city from Whitehall, but reached only St Paul's Cathedral before he had to get out and walk. Pedestrians with handcarts and goods were still on the move away from the fire, heavily weighed down.
The parish churches not directly threatened were filling up with furniture and valuables, which soon had to be moved further afield. Pepys found Bloodworth trying to co-ordinate the fire-fighting efforts and near to collapse, "like a fainting woman", crying out plaintively in response to the King's message that he was pulling down houses. He found that houses were still not being pulled down, in spite of Bloodworth's assurances to Pepys, and daringly overrode the authority of Bloodworth to order wholesale demolitions west of the fire zone.
A tremendous uprush of hot air above the flames was driven by the chimney effect wherever constrictions narrowed the air current, such as the constricted space between jettied buildings, and this left a vacuum at ground level. The resulting strong inward winds did not tend to put the fire out, as might be thought;  instead, they supplied fresh oxygen to the flames, and the turbulence created by the uprush made the wind veer erratically both north and south of the main easterly direction of the gale which was still blowing.
Pepys went again on the river in the early evening with his wife and some friends, "and to the fire up and down, it still encreasing".
They ordered the boatman to go "so near the fire as we could for smoke; and all over the Thames, with one's face in the wind, you were almost burned with a shower of firedrops". When the "firedrops" became unbearable, the party went on to an alehouse on the South Bank and stayed there till darkness came and they could see the fire on London Bridge and across the river, "as only one entire arch of fire from this to the other side of the bridge, and in a bow up the hill for an arch of above a mile long: Pepys described this arch of fire as "a bow with God's arrow in it with a shining point".
Click on the image to enlarge and read. The fire was principally expanding north and west by dawn on Monday, 3 September, the turbulence of the fire storm pushing the flames both farther south and farther north than the day before.
Southwark was preserved by a pre-existent firebreak on the bridge, a long gap between the buildings which had saved the south side of the Thames in the fire of and now did so again. The fire's spread to the north reached the financial heart of the City. The houses of the bankers in Lombard Street began to burn on Monday afternoon, prompting a rush to get their stacks of gold coins to safety before they melted away, so crucial to the wealth of the city and the nation.
Several observers emphasise the despair and helplessness which seemed to seize Londoners on this second day, and the lack of efforts to save the wealthy, fashionable districts which were now menaced by the flames, such as the Royal Exchange —combined bourse and shopping centre — and the opulent consumer goods shops in Cheapside.
The Royal Exchange caught fire in the late afternoon, and was a smoking shell within a few hours. John Evelyn, courtier and diarist, wrote: He went by coach to Southwark on Monday, joining many other upper-class people, to see the view which Pepys had seen the day before of the burning City across the river. The conflagration was much larger now: He observed a great exodus of carts and pedestrians through the bottleneck City gates, making for the open fields to the north and east, "which for many miles were strewed with moveables of all sorts, and tents erecting to shelter both people and what goods they could get away.
In the Globe Theatrein which Shakespeare was a shareholder, was erected on the Bankside in the Liberty of the Clink. It burned down inand was rebuilt inonly to be closed by the Puritans in and subsequently pulled down not long thereafter. A modern replica called Shakespeare's Globehas been built near the original site. The impresario in the later Elizabethan period for these entertainments was Shakespeare's colleague Edward Alleynwho left many local charitable endowments, most notably Dulwich College.
On 26 Mayten years after the Great Fire of Londona great fire broke out, which continued for 17 hours before houses were blown up to create fire breaks. William Hogarth depicted this fair in his engraving of Southwark Fair Southwark was also the location of several prisonsincluding those of the Crown or Prerogative Courts, the Marshalsea and King's Bench prisons, that of the local manors courts e.
One other local family is of note, the Harvards. He migrated to the Massachusetts Colony and left his library and the residue of his will to the new college there, named after him as its first benefactor. Harvard University maintains a link, having paid for a memorial chapel within Southwark Cathedral his family's parish churchand where its UK-based alumni hold services.
John Harvard's mother's house is in Stratford upon Avon. Urbanisation[ edit ] In the first railway in the London area was created, the London and Greenwich Railwayoriginally terminating at Spa Road and later extended west to London Bridge. Inanother great fire in Southwark destroyed a large number of buildings between Tooley Street and the Thames, including those around Hays Wharf later replaced by Hays Galleria and blocks to the west almost as far as St Olave's Church.
The first deep-level underground tube line in London was the City and South London Railwaynow the Bank branch of the Northern lineopened inrunning from King William Street south through Borough to Stockwell. Southwark, sinceis also now served by SouthwarkBermondsey and London Bridge stations on the Jubilee line.
Local governance[ edit ] A map showing the wards of Southwark Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in The St George the Martyr parish was large enough to be governed by a vestry.
Great Fire of London
In the area became part of the County of London. The eastern parishes that had formed the St Olave District instead became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey. In the two boroughs were combined with the Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell to form the current London Borough of Southwark.
The Livery Companies also ensured that they had jurisdiction over the area. From the Norman period manorial organisation obtained through major lay and ecclesiastic magnates. Southwark still has vestiges of this because of the connection with the City of London.
In the City acquired from Edward III the original vill of Southwark and this was also described as "the borough". In these were sold to the City. After many decades of petitioning, in Southwark was incorporated into the City of London as the ward of Bridge Without. However, the Alderman was appointed by the Court of Aldermen and no Common Councilmen were ever elected.
This ward was constituted of the original Guildable Manor and the properties previously held by the church, under a charter of Edward VIlatterly called the King's Manor or Great Liberty. These manors are still constituted by the City under a Bailiff and Steward with their Courts Leet and View of Frankpledge Juries and Officers which still meet—their annual assembly being held in November under the present High Steward the Recorder of London.
The Ward and Aldermanry were effectively abolished inby merging it with the Ward of Bridge Within. These manorial courts were preserved under the Administration of Justice Act Therefore, between and Southwark had two persons the Alderman and the Recorder who were members of the City's Court of Aldermen and Common Council who were elected neither by the City freemen or by the Southwark electorate but appointed by the Court of Aldermen.
Southwark is the location of City Hallthe administrative headquarters of the Greater London Authority and the meeting place of the London Assembly and Mayor of London. SinceSouthwark London Borough Council has its main offices at Tooley Street, having moved administrative staff from the town hall in Camberwell.
Geography[ edit ] View from Tower Bridge towards Southwark: City Hall and the rest of More London development in the foreground, and the Shard London Bridge skyscraper under construction at the time of the photo in the background.