This week I'm on vacation ('holiday', for our British friends), and along our drive my family broke out singing "London
Bridge Is Falling Down." More on that later. First, here's an excerpt from Greg Ruby's Sherlock Holmes Fourth
Garrideb blog about medals depicting the London Bridge. -Editor
London Bridge circa 1890
London Bridge is mentioned in The Adventure of The Greek Interpreter as Holmes and Watson rush to rescue Mr. Melas from his
abductors. London Bridge and the nearby London Bridge Station are also referenced in the following stories from the Canon: The Man With
The Twisted Lip, The Adventure Of The Norwood Builder, The Adventure Of The Bruce Partington Plans, and The Adventure Of The Retired
In this post, we will take a look at a few medals and tokens that feature the London Bridge that existed for the stories in the
Construction of the “new” London Bridge began in 1824 to replace the 600 year old London Bridge that desperately needed to be replaced.
The foundation stone was laid on June 15, 1829 and the bridge was completed and opened for use on August 1, 1831. The bridge would continue
in use until a replacement bridge was built around the now “old’ bridge starting in 1967. The “old” bridge was disassembled carefully and
the stones recorded to be sold to an American entrepreneur. After the “old” bridge had been removed, the two replacement bridges had a
central span build to connect the two bridges into one “new” London Bridge.
Prior to the opening of the bridge on August 1, 1831 a huge banquet was held in a tent on the bridge to celebrate. King William IV and
Queen Adelaide attended the festivities. This 51mm bronze medal was engraved by Benjamin Wyon, who earlier in 1831, became Chief Engraver
of the Seals by appointment of the King.
This 28mm base metal token also commemorates the opening of the bridge. This token states that the first stone of the bridge was laid
March 14, 1824 and not the date of June 15, 1824, which is the generally accepted date.
The dismantled “old” London Bridge would be packed up and sent through the Panama Canal on a journey that would take it to Lake Havasu
City, Arizona. The reassembled bridge would be rededicated on October 15, 1971.
In the couple weeks leading up to our vacation, our son Tyler worked hard mowing lawns and babysitting for neighbors, saving up his money
for a long-desired purchase - a $200 Lego set of the Tower Bridge in London. It arrived a couple days before our departure, and he spent
hours on end assembling the 2,000-some pieces. He managed to complete it the night before we left.
Excited to show everyone his handiwork, he began carrying it upstairs on a small table from the basement family room. He hit a bump and
watched in horror as the entire bridge slid off the table and crashed to the floor, shattering it worse than a German Blitzkreig ever
could. We heard his bloodcurdling scream and ran to see what happened. He scared the crap out of us. He was inconsolable, but did
eventually calm down and could (almost) laugh about it. We tried not to, but it was hard. At least no one was hurt, and he'd have a
chance to build it all over again a second time.
So when he started singing "London Bridge" as we rolled down the highway, I knew he was coming to terms with the incident. And
planning to bubble wrap and duct tape it next time. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Some Medallic Remembrances of London Bridge
Wayne Homren, Editor
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