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Date updated: 1/07/2024

The aim of this two-year collaborative project between London Metropolitan Archives and City Bridge Foundation, is to collect and consolidate a definitive record and archive of the history of the Bridge House Estates charity, which includes a substantial number of records for one of London’s iconic landmarks – Tower Bridge. Collaboration is central to the values of City Bridge Foundation, so we were delighted when they sought the expertise of London Metropolitan Archives and engaged us to work with them to deliver the project’s aims.

About City Bridge Foundation

City Bridge Foundation is a world class bridge owner responsible for five Thames crossings, and London’s biggest independent charity funder. In 2023 City Bridge Foundation was adopted as the working name for the historic charity Bridge House Estates. The City of London Corporation’s Bridge House Estates Trust Fund was initially formed in the Middle Ages, in connection with the construction of the first stone London Bridge which was completed in 1209. Essentially London Bridge was the genesis of the Trust’s existence. The City of London Corporation is the corporate Trustee of City Bridge Foundation.

At no cost to the taxpayer, City Bridge Foundation maintains and supports five of the main Thames bridges in central London:

  • London Bridge
  • Blackfriars Bridge
  • Southwark Bridge
  • Tower Bridge
  • Millennium Bridge

These vital Thames crossings connect the north and south sides of London, more information can be found on the City Bridge Foundation website.

In addition to managing these bridges, the charity provides funding and uses its resources to help communities foster connections, become more resilient and build a more equal London. From 1995 to September 2023 the funding arm of the charity was known as City Bridge Trust.

Montage of four London bridges over the Thames
London Bridges showing Blackfriars Bridge (top left), Southwark Bridge (top right), Tower Bridge (bottom left) and the Millennium Bridge (bottom right)

More detail about the project

A core strand of the project is the cataloguing, repackaging and long-term preservation of Tower Bridge records, including a wide range of items currently housed at London Metropolitan Archives. We will also survey, transfer, catalogue, repackage and re-house other historic records, predominantly plans, which are currently housed at Tower Bridge. Collections care will be an important aspect of the project as any fragile and/or damaged plans will be conserved to protect them and ensure their future accessibility. Other key work involves a review of City Bridge Foundation’s core records, past and present.

By the project’s conclusion many of the newly catalogued Tower Bridge records will be accessible to the public for the first time. The review of City Bridge Foundation’s core records will enable the charity to more fully understand and readily locate information about its fascinating and extensive history and decide how best to manage its records, (the majority of which will be in a digital format) into the future. In this way we will support City Bridge Foundation in its primary objective of maintaining five core London Bridges and its ancillary objective to use its surplus funds to award grants to charitable organisations across Greater London.