The London Bridge area is a history of bridges, with the first one dating back to the arrival of the Romans. They built the first bridge that spanned the river there in around 50AD and it turned London into a trading powerhouse.
That first old wooden bridge would have rotted over time, as would the next one, or maybe been lost to fire damage, and it was only during Medieval times that the first stone bridges were built on this site. These stronger bridges were built to last.
For hundreds of years, Londoners built living quarters higher and higher on top of these stronger stone bridges, with old drawings from the time depicting creaking old buildings reaching over seven storeys high on London Bridge.
If that wasn’t scary enough, the bridge would also have been occasionally lined with traitor’s heads impaled on pikes. Yikes! The towering buildings were eventually brought down in the 1700s because of congestion and the present London Bridge was built in 1831.
Victorian times saw huge industrial growth in the area and it became almost a city of warehouses lining the shores, all being used for the storage of masses of incoming goods, such as sugar, spices, ivory, tea, tobacco, wine and silks, all coming in from newly established trade routes around the world. The positioning of warehouses and landing docks was crucial and they, along with their valuable goods, were fiercely protected by their owners.
In the 1900s things began to change. The loading and unloading of the imported stock moved further upriver, resulting in the mass of warehouses slowly falling into decline, and by the 1970s the area had become a warehouse graveyard.
All the unused land, along with those squatting, derelict warehouses, was bought by developers. The once thriving spice and tea warehouses were renovated into splendid residential properties with enviable river views – and suddenly they became desirable again.