Huge parts of London Bridge sit abandoned on the hills of Dartmoor – Plymouth Live
While most of us associate London Bridge with, unsurprisingly, London, giant carved stones destined for the bridge can also be found hundreds of miles away from the nation’s capital – on Dartmoor.
Back in 1903, a quarry in Devon was tasked with extracting huge granite stones that could be used to “widen” the London Bridge, as, with 8,000 people crossing every hour, it was becoming exceedingly busy and needed to be made bigger.
Over 1,500 tonnes of granite from Swelter Quarry were used to make ‘corbels’ – strong stones that could withstand heavy weights – set to be sent to London to be used for extending the pavement on the bridge.
But the corbels never made the journey, so some still sit abandoned near a disused railway on the moor, where they’ve been for over 100 years.
Have you ever walked past these? They’re huge! (Image: Richard Hayden)
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Princetown resident Richard Hayden previously spoke to PlymouthLive about the incredible and unexpected history of the stones, which have sparked Londoners’ interest.
He said: “There are about a dozen of the corbels and they’re surprisingly large, measuring around three metres by one metre.
“They lie on the remains of a disused railway track just outside the quarry itself and have the most fantastic views across West Devon and into Cornwall.”
The corbels left on the moor were either seconds or exceeded requirements (Image: Richard Hayden)
“The bridge itself, ‘New’ London Bridge, was opened in 1831 and replaced the great medieval bridge that had spanned the Thames since the 13th century.
“By the beginning of the 20th century, the ‘new’ bridge wasn’t wide enough to accommodate both the traffic and the pedestrians, and the idea was to place a series of corbels on the sides of the bridge that would project out over the Thames and carry the extended pavement.”
Strangely, not all the corbels were needed and some were left on the moor.
“The corbels left on the moor were either seconds or exceeded requirements,” Richard said. “I have read that several of the corbels were in fact shipped off to Arizona in the 1960s when the bridge was sold.”