Explore London Bridge

Restoring the glory of London's first crossing

By Illuminated River

London Bridge - Illuminated River (2019-07-23) by Neil HawkinsIlluminated River

The history of London Bridge

There has been a bridge on this site almost as long as there has been a city of London, with successive bridges built by the Romans, William the Conqueror and King John. During the Tudor period around 600 buildings and bustling shops lined the bridge. When traffic on London Bridge became too crowded in 1722, a 'keep left' rule was instated that later became the pattern for all roads in the United Kingdom. The previous version of London Bridge (built in 1831 and designed by the architect John Rennie) was bought by McCulloch Oil Corporation of America, who then shipped the bridge across the Atlantic and re-erected it, piece-by-piece, over Lake Havasu in Arizona. Today's London Bridge opened in 1973. The bridge was made three times wider than the previous bridge to accommodate for increased traffic from vehicles and pedestrians. To pay homage to its predecessor, an aggregate sourced from Scotland was used rather than local Thames Valley gravel aggregate to match the style of Rennie's bridge.

Illuminated River (2019-07-06/2019-07-06) by James NewtonIlluminated River

Illuminated River, 2019 (2019-07-06/2019-07-06) by James NewtonIlluminated River

The artistic vision

Villareal's artwork for London Bridge responds to the continuous stream of movement, colour, noise, and cultural activity in the surrounding area. The simple form and silhouette of the bridge is complemented by fields of broad and warm colour. Through the artist's custom sequencing, the lighting casts a luminous wash that is fluid and subtly changing, dissolving what was previously a monolithic wall of light into a gently kinetic tableau. Inspired by an impressionistic colour palette, Villareal's artwork mimics the play of light on the Thames and links the architecture of the bridge with the currents and tides passing beneath.

London Bridge - Illuminated River (2019-09-24/2019-09-24) by James NewtonIlluminated River

Did you know that the pavement on the eastern side of London Bridge is wider than the western side?

The bridge was designed to accommodate hordes of commuters crossing the bridge daily on their way from London Bridge to the City.

London Bridge - Illuminated River (2019-07-13/2019-07-13) by James NewtonIlluminated River

Scroll to explore London Bridge in 360

Scroll to explore London Bridge in 360

London Bridge Moving Detail - Illuminated River (2019-07-14) by James NewtonIlluminated River

Leo Villareal and London Bridge, 2019 (2019-07-16/2019-07-16)Illuminated River

Leo Villareal discusses the architecture of London Bridge and the inspiration behind his artwork.

Credits: Story

Videography by Paul Crawley ©

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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