London Bridge London England about 1892

London Bridge about 1892

LONDON BRIDGE LONDON — Of all the bridges which cross the Thames within the city limits none is so famous as this which characteristically bears the name of “London.” It was opened to traffic by King William IV in 1831. It is of granite and its cost was about eight millions of dollars. The lamp-posts on its sides are said to have been cast from cannon captured from the French during the Spanish war. It has the distinction of being the last bridge on the Thames, or the one nearest to the sea, which is about sixty miles away. The restless tide of human life ebbing and flowing across this granite thoroughfare is a suggestive sight. Dickens was fond of studying here day by day and night those widely differing phases of humanity, which can be seen in this world-metropolis better than anywhere else on earth. This bridge is never deserted, and during twenty-four hours it is estimated that 20,000 vehicles and 120,000 pedestrians cross here from one side of London to the other. The roadways are so arranged that those who desire to drive rapidly follow one course, and those whose wishes or whose horses are moderate must take the other. Standing on this connecting link between the two great sections of the World’s Metropolis, one realizes the immensity of London. Nearly five millions of people live within its mighty circuit. Twenty-five hundred are born and about two thousand die here every week. One hundred million gallons of water are used here every day, in spite of the multitude of the “Great unwashed.” If the people of London were placed in single file, eighteen inches apart, they would extend 1200 miles, or further than from Boston to Chicago. There are in London more Roman Catholics than in Rome, more Scotchmen than in Edinburgh, more Irishmen than in Dublin. The poverty and wretchedness in certain quarters of the city are as extreme in one direction as the magnificent display and wealth of the West End are in the other. Yet no great city in the world is better paved or better governed. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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