How Roman bridges hold the key to uniting the River Thames and East London

For many Londoners, the Thames feels like a border between two countries- especially if you live in the east of the city.”*

In a recent London Evening Standard article, David Spittles highlights the strange absence of bridges across the River Thames on the east side of London, ‘There are 34 bridges across the river in the capital, only one of which lies east of Tower Bridge’. With London Mayor Sadiq Khan giving the go ahead for a new river crossing, we look at the evolution of London thanks to moats and bridges.

Roman London: The first bridges

The Thames and its estuary were a major inland and Continental trade route from at least the 9th century BC. But until the first bridge was built roughly around AD55, London barely existed, and bridges were more for defensive purposes than facilitating trading. Romans effectively redefined the purpose of bridges, in fact they were the only civilisation until the industrial revolution to construct bridges with concrete . It was this ingenuity that kept the centrally focused design of London as the population grew from approximately 45,000-60,000 inhabitants at the height of Roman occupation to 8.7 million today.

Check out this interactive map showing London city’s transformation in 2,000 years

Bridges today: The regenerative impact

Bridges have a proven positive impact socially as well as economically. They create construction jobs, boost local economies, and bring neighbourhoods, otherwise isolated by poor transport connections, closer to the city centre.

David Spittles, ‘A report by the Centre of London think tank estimates that bridges and tunnels could open up land for at least 50,000 new homes, cut commuting times … and create 60,000 jobs’. And with faster, easier trips to Central London, house prices will likely climb as a result of improved connections.

Silvertown Tunnel: Connecting Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks

More waterfront than Venice*
The four-lane underground highway will connect a vast 13,000-home district to the regeneration zone of the Royal Docks. The tunnel even has a “bespoke cycle-bus” to carry cyclists through the tunnel, so no commuters will lose out in any future London transport plan.

What does this mean for me?

Well, this is a property website so here are a few developments to consider:

Castle & Victoria - 1 bedroom Shared Ownership apartments within the heart of Westminster.
Indigo House - 1, 2 and 3 bed Shared Ownership apartments at Royal Albert Wharf, 2 minutes walk from Gallions Reach DLR.
Aspect Croydon - 1, 2 and 3 bed Shared Ownership apartments.

*Full David Spittles article here

**Help to Buy on selected units. Find out more

***Image via Wikipedia