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Welcome

Bridge Ward Club

Founded 1930

President Alderman Sir Alan Yarrow

© The Bridge Ward Club 2017                                               Privacy

THE WARD SYSTEM

The City - an area of London of approximately one square mile - was divided into Wards in Norman times for administration purposes. The system still exists today: throughout the City meetings or Wardmotes are held on the third Wednesday each March. and every fourth year the Wardmote is charged by Precept from the Lord Mayor to elect good citizens from the community to represent the Ward for the ensuing four years.

Those elected are designated Common Councilmen and Aldermen, who make up the Court of Common Council. This Court, the head of which is the Lord Mayor, can be traced back to Saxon times and forms the governing body of the City which normally meets at the Guildhall on the second Thursday of each month to conduct the everyday business of the City under their control.

There is also a Court of Aldermen over which the Lord Mayor (also an Alderman) also presides and that Court is responsible for matters relating to the Livery Companies in the City amongst other things. Each year the Liverymen of the City elect two of the Aldermen, of whom one will be selected by the Court of Aldermen to be Lord Mayor each year.

In mediæval times Beadles were also elected to be responsible for community service, but today they attend upon the Aldermen during ceremonial occasions and also wait upon the Master and Court of Livery Companies. The Livery Companies have their roots in guilds that were formed for each craft or profession.


THE BRIDGE WARD

Bridge Ward is but one of the 25 Wards which make up the City of London. It is not one of the larger Wards but it is represented by an Alderman and two Common Councilmen who are assisted by a Ward Clerk.

The Ward extends from the junction of Gracechurch Street and Fenchurch Street down to London Bridge and across to the south shore line of the Thames at Southwark, a distance of about 3/8th of a mile.

For hundreds of years the Ward of Bridge and Bridge Without, to give the Ward its correct title, has been historically sited, straddling the Northern approach to London Bridge which was the only gateway to the City from the south side of the River Thames. This led to Bridge Street, also named Fish Street, now known as Fish Street Hill, a narrow cobbled hill leading from the north foot of the Bridge to Gracechurch Street in the heart of the City.

The east side of the Ward extends to the lower end of Monument Street and to Swan Lane in the west, with the imposing and elegant Fishmongers' Hall adjacent to London Bridge. Almost opposite the Hall is St Magnus the Martyr, the parish and ward church.

The Ward's position brought about much prosperity due to the business that was transacted in this small area of the City. Today many changes have taken place but it is just as busy, possibly more so, since the arrival of new commercial and financial premises and buildings which have completely altered the old character of the Ward of Bridge.


THE WARD OF BRIDGE WITHOUT

By the 14th century the City Ward boundaries had been determined and bars had been placed across the main streets leading from the City indicating its outer limits. In the middle of the 16th century the City authorities were increasingly concerned about fugitives escaping from justice by crossing southwards from London Bridge to Southwark which caused them to petition Edward VI to sell them the Borough of Southwark, which he did in 1550. This new area of the City became known as the Ward of Bridge Without. In 1899 an Act of Parliament separated Southwark from the City and in 1978 the Ward was amalgamated with Bridge Ward.