Page 20 - November 2021
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  THE SALAMANDER November 2021
This talk was given by Liveryman Graham Woodhouse, who is a Hackney Carriage City of London Guid.
  Thames formed a natural moat protecing the castle-city, so the bridge was built on the same principle of any other castle entrance of the period. The outer gate was a solid bastion of stone, set on the 2nd pier, with its massive doors and a portcullis. Between the 6th & 7th piers was a 30ft gap, crossed by a drawbridge leading to a second gateway. it was in fact impregnable, and there is no record of the bridge ever being taken by force.
Houses & Shops:-
There were houses on the bridge from its very beginning. They would have projected several feet out over the river, supported by stout timber joists driven into the piers. Some were joined to their opposite neighbours by a gallery effectively bridging the street, these buildings however reduced the roadway from 20ft to 12ft
The shops on the medieval bridge must have looked the same as any other shop on any other London street. The merchandise was invariably made on the premises, and sold from a dropdown counter.
Nonesuch House:-
Built in 1577 on the site of the demolished drawbridge gate, Nonesuch House literally meaning ‘No other such house’ was an object of wonder. Originally built in Holland, it was now shipped over sec:on by section, it was now reassembled on the stone founda:ons of the bridge. So precisely made, this prefabricated building fired together with only wooden pegs without the use of nails. Taking 2 years to build, it was finally demolished when the houses were removed in the 18th century.
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