This image was both drawn and later lithographed by artist Thomas Lindsay. It was published as Plate 3 of a series of four ‘Picturesque Sketches of Old London Bridge’, which all showed the structure during its demolition in 1831-32.
In 1823 work began on the construction of a new London Bridge, just upstream from the old bridge, designed by civil engineer Sir John Rennie. In the same year the new bridge opened, work began to demolish the old structure. On 2 December 1831, the Chester Courant reported:
‘On Tuesday morning at day-break, the destruction of old London Bridge commenced, and by mid-day a great portion of the road was impeded. It is said that the more haste will be observed in the destruction of the old bridge, in consequence of the injury done to the new one by the strong eddies which are formed between each erection, and which have already led to the sinking of a portion of the new bridge. The old useless stuff will be thrown into the river, to fill up the immense holes formed by the eddies near the piles of the new bridge, and which, in some places, it is stated, are from 40 to 46 feet deep.’
The concrete London Bridge that we know today was built between 1967 and 1972.
Thomas Lindsay was born in Northumberland; the second son of William Lindsay of Alnwick. He specialised in painted views of the River Thames, particularly sunrises and sunsets and Welsh landscapes. He became a member of the New Water-Colour Society in 1833 and showed his work there and at the British Institution in London. He also held a private view for friends ‘of the pieces intended for the London exhibition’ before they were sent. Lindsay was a gifted musician and was closely associated with his local church, serving as Honorary Secretary of the Hay Auxiliary Bible Society. In 1850 he was aged 57 and living with his wife, Mary, and a house servant. He died in January 1861 at Dûlas Cottage, his home in Cusop, Brecknockshire, aged 67.
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