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Most Googled: why did London Bridge fall down?

Written by
Flo Wales Bonner

Actually, London Bridge has fallen down loads of times. The nursery rhyme might refer to the time the Viking leader Olaf Haraldsson pulled it down in 1014, inspiring a thirteenth-century Old Norse poem that translated as ‘London Bridge is broken down’.

Then again, London Bridge kept partially falling down for centuries after the Romans left Britain in the fifth century. It crumbled in 1281 (due to ice damage), 1309, 1425 and 1437, and then there was a devastating fire in the seventeenth century.

But despite its Jenga-like tendencies, the medieval London Bridge (including houses and shops) did last for 600 years, until it was demolished in 1831. And Roy Stephenson, head of archaeological collections at the Museum of London, has another positive take: despite replacements and repairs, ‘there’s been a bridge in pretty much the same place in London for nearly 2,000 years. Now that’s awesome.’

And while we’re at it: why are London buses red?

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