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London, like famous old Briareus,
As we, ourselves, do reverence to ours.-
The present engraving is from the de- large cards of about the size that the presign at the head of the admission tickets, sent leaf will present when bound in the and is exactly of the same form and volume, and cut round the edges. dimensions; the tickets themselves were
COPY OF Thu, Ticket.
..fdmit the Bcarer to witness The CERemony of laying THE FIRST STONE
£2ttu London-bridge, on Wednesday, the 15th day of June, 1825.
(Signed) Hexy Woodthorpe, Jun. Clerk of the Committee. Scal of the City Arms.
M. B. The access is from the present bridge, and the time of admission will be between the hours of twelve and two.
It has been truly observed of the design for the new bridge, that it is striking for its contrast with the present gothic edifice, whose place it is so soon to supply. It consists but of five elliptical arches, which embrace the whole span of the river, with the exception of a double pier on either side, and between each arch a single pier of corresponding design: the whole is more remarkable for its simplicity than its magnificence; so much, intleed, does the former quality appear to have been consulted, that it has not a single balustrade from beginning to end.
New London-bridge is the symbol of an honourable British merchant: it unites plainness with strength and capacity, and will be found to be more expansive and ornamental, the more its uses and purposes are considered.
The following are to be the dimensions of the new bridge:–
Centre arch—span, 150 feet; rise, 32 feet; piers, 24 feet.
Arches next the centre arch—span, 140 feet; rise, 30 feet; piers 22 feet.
Abutment arches—span, 130 feet; rise, 25 feet; abutment, 74 feet.
Total width, from water-side to waterside, 690 feet.
Length of the bridge, including the abutments, 950 feet; without the abutments, 782 feet.
Width of the bridge, from outside to outside of the parapets, 55 feet; carriageway, 33 feet 4 inches.
“Go and set London-bridge on fire,” said Jack Cade, at least so Shakspeare makes him say, to “the rest” of the insurgents, who, in the reign of Henry VI., came out of Kent, took the city itself, and there raised a standard of revolt against the royal authority. “Sooner said than done, master Cade,” may have been the answer; and now, when we are about to erect a new one, let us “remember the bridge that has carried safe over.” Though its feet were manifold as a centipede's, and though, in gliding between its legs, as it
“ doth bestride the Thames,”
some have, ever and anon, passed to the bottom, and craft of men, and craft with goods, so perished, yet the health and wealth of ourselves, and those from whom we sprung, have been increased by . safe and uninterrupted intercourse above.
By admission to the entire ceremony of laying the first stone of the new London-bridge, the editor of the Every-Day Book is enabled to give an authentic account of the proceedings from his own close observation; and therefore, collating the narratives in every public journal of the following day, by his own notes, he relates the ceremonial he witnessed, from a chosen situation within the cofferdam.
At an early hour of the morning the vicinity of the new and old bridges presented an appearance of activity, bustle, and preparation; and every spot that could command even a bird's-eye view of the scene, was eagerly and early occupied by persons desirous of becoming spectators of the intended spectacle, which, it was confidently expected, would be extremely magnificent and striking; these anticipations were in no way disappointed.
So early as twelve o'clock, the avenues leading to the old bridge were filled with individuals, anxious to behold the approaching ceremony, and shortly afterwards the various houses, which form the streets through which the procession was
to pass, had their windows graced with numerous parties of well-dressed people. St. Magnus' on the bridge, St. Saviour's church in the Borough, Fishmongers'-hall, and the different warehouses in the vicinity, had their roofs covered with spectators; platforms were erected in every nook from whence a sight could be obtained, and several individuals took their seats on the Monument, to catch a bird'seye view of the whole proceedings. The buildings, public or private, that at all overlooked the scene, were literally roofed and walled with human figures, clinging to them in all sorts of possible and improbable attitudes. Happy were they who could purchase seats, at from half a crown to fifteen shillings each, for so the charge varied, according to the degree of accommodation afforded. As the day advanced, the multitude increased in the street; the windows of the shops were closed, or otherwise secured, and those of the upper floors became occupied with such of the youth and beauty of the city as has not already repaired to the river: and delightfully occupied they were: and were the sun down, as it was not, it had scarcely been missed—for there—
“From every casement came the light,
The wharfs on the banks of the river, between London-bridge and Southwarkbridge, were occupied by an immense multitude. Southwark-bridge itself was clustered over like a bee-hive; and the river from thence to London-bridge presented the appearance of an immense dock covered with vessels of various descriptions; or, perhaps, it more closely resembled a vast country fair, so completely was the water concealed by multitudes of boats and barges, and the latter again hidden by thousands of spectators, and canvass awnings, which, with the gay holiday company within, made them not unlike booths and tents, and contributed to strengthen the fanciful similitude. The tops of the houses had many of them also their flags and awnings; and, from the appearance of them and the river, one might almost suppose the dry and level ground altogether deserted, for this aquatic fete, worthy of Venice at her best of times. All the vessels in the pool hoisted their flags top-mast-high, in honour of the occasion, and many of them sent out their
boats manned, to increase the bustle and interest of the scene. At eleven o'clock London-bridge was wholly closed, and at the same hour Southwark-bridge was thrown open, free of toll. At each end of London-bridge barriers were formed, and no persons were allowed to pass, unless provided with tickets, and these only were used for the purpose of arriving at the cofferdam. There was a feeling of awful solemnity at the appearance of this, the greatest thoroughfare of the metropolis, now completely vacated of all its footpassengers and noisy vehicles.
At one o'clock the lord mayor and sheriffs arrived at Guildhall, the persons engaged in the procession having met at a much earlier hour. The lady mayoress and a select party went to the coffer-dam in the lord mayor's private state carriage, and arrived at the bridge about half-past two o'clock. The Royal Artillery Company arrived in the court-yard of the Guildhall at two o'clock. The carriages of the members of parliament and other gentlemen, forming part of the procession, mustered in Queenstreet and the Old Jewry.
At twelve o'clock, the barrier at the foot of the bridge on the city side of the river was thrown open, and the company, who were provided with tickets for the coffer-dam, were admitted within it, and kept arriving till two o'clock in quick succession. At that time the barriers were again closed, and no person was admitted till the arrival of the chief procession. By one o'clock, however, most of the seats within the coffer-dam were occupied, with the exception of those reserved for the persons connected with the procession.
The tickets of admission issued by the committee, consisting of members of the court of common council, were in great request. By their number being judiciously limited, and by other arrangements, there was ample accommodation for all the company. At the bottom of each ticket, there was a notice to signify that the hours of admission were between twelve and two, and not a few of the fortunate holders were extremely punctual in attending at the first mentioned hour, for the purpose of securing the best places. They were admitted at either end of the bridge, and passed on till they came to an opening that had been made in the balustrade, leading to the platform that surrounded the area of the proposed ceremony. This was the coffer-dam formed in the bed of the river, for the building of the first pier, at the Southwark side. The greatest care had been taken to render the dam water-tight, and during the whole of the day, from twelve till six, it was scarcely found necessary to work the steam-engine a single stroke. On passing the aperture in the balustrade, already mentioned, the company immediately arrived on a most extensive platform, from which two staircases divided—the one for the pink tickets, which introduced the possessor to the lowest stage of the works, and the other for the white ones, of less privilege, and which were therefore more numerous. The interior of the works was highly creditable to the committee. Not only were the timbers, whether horizontal or upright, of immense thickness, but they were so securely and judiciously bolted and pinned together, that the liability of any danger or accident was entirely done away with. The very awning which covered the whole coffer-dam, to ensure protection from the sun or rain, had there been any, was raised on a little forest of scaffolding poles, which, any where but by the side of the huge blocks of timber introduced immediately beneath, would have appeared of an unusual stability. In fact, the whole was arranged as securely and as comfortably as though it had been intended to serve the time of all the lord mayors for the next century to come, while on the outside, in the river, every necessary precaution was taken to keep off boats, by stationing officers there for that purpose. With the exception of the lower floor, which, as already mentioned, was only attainable by the possession of pink tickets, and a small portion of the floor next above it, the whole was thrown open without reservation, and the visitors took possession of the unoccupied places they liked best. The entire coffer-dam was ornamented with as much taste and beauty as the purposes for which it was intended would possibly admit. The entrance to the platform from the bridge, was fitted up with crimson drapery, tastefully festooned. The coffer-dam itself was divided into four tiers of galleries, along which several rows of benches, covered with scarlet cloth, were arranged for the benefit of the spec
tators. It was covered with canvass to keep out the rays of the sun, and from the transverse beams erected to support it, which were decked with rosettes of different colours, were suspended flags and ensigns of various descriptions, brought from Woolwich yard; which by the constant motion in which they were kept, created a current of air, which was very refreshing. The floor of the dam, which is 45 feet below the high water mark, was covered, like the galleries, with scarlet cloth, except in that part of it where the first stone was to be laid. The floor is 95 feet in length, and 36 in breadth; is formed of beech planks, four inches in thickness, and rests upon a mass of piles, which are shod at the top with iron, and are crossed by immense beams of solid timber. By two o'clock all the galleries were completely filled with welldressed company, and an eager impatience for the arrival of the procession was visible in every countenance. The bands of the Horse Guards, red and blue, and also that of the Artillery Company, played different tunes, to render the interval of expectation as little tedious as possible; but, in spite of all their endeavours, a feeling of listlessness appeared to pervade the spectators.-In the mean time the arrangements at Guildhall being completed, the procession moved from the court-yard, in the following order:—
A body of the Artillery Company. and of Music. Marshalmen. Mr. Cope, the City Marshal, mounted, and in th full uniform of his Office. The private carriage of — Saunders, Esq., the Water Bailiff, containing the Water-Bailiff, and Nelson, his Assistant. Carriage containing the Barge-masters. City. Watermen bearing Colours. A party of City Watermen without Colours. Carriage containing Messrs. Lewis and Gillman, the Bridge-masters, and the Clerk of the Bridge-house Estate. Another o of the City Watermen. Carriage containing Messrs. Jolliffe and Sir E. Banks, the Contractors for the Building of the New Bridge. Model of the New Bridge. Carriages containing Members of the Royal Society Carriage containing John Holmes, Esq., the Bailiff of Southwark. Carriage containing the Under-Sheriffs. Carriages containing Thomas Shelton, Esq., Clerk of the Peace for the City of London ; . Newman, Esq., the City Solicitor; Timothy, Tyrrell, Esq., the Remembrancer; Samuel Collingridge, Esq., and P. W. Crowther, Esq., the Secondaries; J. Boudon, Esq., Clerk of the Chamber ; W. Holland, Esq., and George Bernard, Esq., the Common Pleaders; o Woodthorpe, Esq., the Town Clerk; Thomas Denman, Esq., the Common Sergeant; R. Clarke, Esq., the Chamberlain. These Carriages were followed by those of several Mernbers of Parliament. Carriages of Members of the Privy Council. ... Band of Music and Colours, supported by City Watermen
The procession moved up Cornhill and down Gracechurch-street, to Londonbridge. While awaiting the arrival of the procession, wishes were wasted from many a fair lip, that the lord of the day, as well as of the city, would make his appearance. Small-talk had been exhausted, and the merits of each particular timber canvassed for the hundredth time, when, at about a quarter to three, the lady mayoress made her appearance, and renovated the hopes of the company. They argued that his lordship as a family man, would not be long absent from his lady. The clock tolled three, and no lord mayor had made his appearance. At this critical juncture a small gun made its report; but, except the noise and smoke, it produced nothing. More than an hour elapsed before the eventful moment arrived; a flourish of trumpets in the distance gave hope to many hearts, and finally two six-pounders of the Artillery Company, discharged from the wharf at Old Swan Stairs, at about a quarter-past four o'clock, announced the arrival of the cavalcade. Every one stood up, and in a very few minutes the city watermen, bearing their colours flying, made their appearance at the head of the coffer-dam, and would, if they could, have done the same thing at the bottom of it; but owing to the unaccommodating narrowness of the staircase, they found it inconvenient to convey their flags by the same route that they intended to convey themselves. Necessity, however, has long been celebrated as the mother of invention,and a plan was hit upon to wind the flags over this timber and under that, till after a very serpentine proceeding, they arrived in safety at the bottom. After this had been accomplished, there was a sort of pause, and every body seemed to be thinking of what would come next, when some one in authority hinted, that as the descent of the flags had been performed so dexterously, or for some other reason that did not express itself, they might as easily be conveyed back, so that the company,
whose patience, by the bye, was exemplary, were gratified by the ceremony of those poles returning, till the arrival of the expected personages, satisfied every desire. A sweeping train of aldermen were seen winding in their scarlet robes through the mazes of the pink-ticketted staircase, and in a very few minutes a great portion of these dignified elders of the city made their appearance on the floor below, the band above having previously struck up the “ Hunter's Chorus” from Der Freischütz. Next in order entered a strong body of the common-councilmen, who had gone to meet the procession on its arrival at the barriers. Independently of those that made their appearance on the lower platform, glimpses of their purple robes with fur-trimmings, were to be caught on every stage of the scaffolding, where many of them had been stationed throughout the day. After these entered the recorder, the common sergeant, the city solicitor, the city clerk, the city chamberlain, and a thousand other city officers, “all gracious in the city's eyes.” These were followed by the duke of York and the lord mayor, advancing together, the duke being on his lordship's right hand. His royal highness was dressed in a plain blue coat with star, and wore at his knee the garter. They were received with great cheering, and proceeded immediately up the floor of the platform, till they arrived opposite the
lace where the first stone was suspended
y a tackle, ready to be swung into the place that it is destined to occupy for centuries. Opposite the stone, an elbowed seat had been introduced into the line of bench, so as to afford a marked place for the chief magistrate, without breaking in upon the direct course of the seats. His lordship, who was in his full robes, offered the chair to his royal highness, which was positively declined on his part. The lord mayor therefore seated himself, and was supported on the right by his royal highness, and on the left by Mr. Alderman Wood. The lady mayoress, with her daughters in elegant dresses, sat near his lordship, accompanied by two fine-looking intelligent boys her sons; near them were the two lovely daughters of lord Suffolk, and many other fashionable and elegantly dressed ladies. In the train which arrived with the lord mayor and his royal highness were the earl of Darnley, lord J. Stewart, the right hon. C. W. Wynn, M.P., sir G. Warrender, M.P., sir I. Coffin, M.P., sit