August 28th – On this day in 1577, the first stone was laid for the foundation of Nonsuch House on London Bridge.
The house stood on the bridge for nearly 200 years before eventually being demolished in 1757, to allow for the widening of the road. Its construction was remarkable for the amount of pre-fabrication involved, with sections manufactured in Holland and shipped across the North Sea packed flat for assembly on site. And also for the quality of the craftsmanship employed, it even being said that all the sections fitted together with wooden pegs, and without a single nail. The completed house, with its gaudy paintwork, intricately carved carapace, and ornate cupolas, was one of the wonders of its age. Fortunately, it stood just long enough, albeit apparently in a state of some disrepair, to be immortalised in a Canaletto drawing of circa 1750, now in the British Museum. Unfortunately, we know very little of its nearly two-hundred year history – not even who its occupants were!
The modern incarnation of London Bridge is visited on our “Historic Southwark” standard walk.
Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section of this web-site.