In Bridges We Trust

By sizemore Last edited 144 months ago
In Bridges We Trust

A new year brings a new name for The Bridge House Trust which will now be known as the City Bridge Trust *Yawn* So far so boring... in fact we often use the financial section of The Guardian as kitty litter, but this little piece hidden away among pensions and bonuses is filled with interesting little facts:

The Trust built and continues to maintain all of the City of London's bridges - including Tower bridge - at no expense to the taxpayer.

It's one of the biggest and oldest but least well-known grant-giving charities in the country, with £700m in its coffers. It traces its roots back to 1097.

It began collecting tolls to cross London bridge and then rent from the houses and shops built on it.

The bridge became so important to Londoners that they would leave legacies to "God and the bridge".

Tolls and rents reinvested in property results in an annual income that vastly exceeds the £4m to £5m it costs for the upkeep of London, Tower, Millennium, Southwark and Blackfriars bridges.

Bridgemasters maximised income including "receiving tolls on carts passing over the bridge, tolls from ships passing under the bridge and fines for unlawful fishing from the bridge".

An opportune moment then to remind you of our (unabridged) interview with London bridges expert Chris Roberts.

Last Updated 08 January 2007