London Bridge is Falling Down

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Lyrics

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Build it up with iron bars,
Iron bars, iron bars,
Build it up with iron bars,
My fair lady.

Iron bars will bend and break,
Bend and break, bend and break,
Iron bars will bend and break,
My fair lady.

Build it up with gold and silver,
Gold and silver, gold and silver,
Build it up with gold and silver,
My fair lady.

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Information About London Bridge is Falling Down

"London Bridge Is Broken" is one of the earliest versions of the famous nursery rhyme "London Bridge Is Falling Down". The earliest printed version of the famous song can be found in "Tommy Thumb´s Pretty Song Book" published in 1744.

The direct meaning of the rhyme is not known but may relate to the many problems experienced by Londoners in building and maintaining a bridge across the River Thames.

According to the Britain Express web site this song may be related to an event around the turn of the first century on the Thames river. The Romans first built London bridge, probably out of wood. It had to be rebuilt many times because the River Thames kept sweeping it away.

The first London Bridge was built by the Romans from wood and it was later replaced with new timber several times after the Romans left the island. The bridge was burned down to avoid an invasion by the Danes in 1014AD, rebuilt and destroyed again by a storm in 1091, rebuilt and destroyed again by a fire in 1136. After the 1136 fire, London Bridge was rebuilt with stone and not finished until 1206.

The King of England had the idea to build houses on the bridge, and it was soon occupied by houses, shops and even a chapel built at the centre of the bridge. London Bridge was eventually crowded with buildings of up to seven stories in height. The population of the bridge was large enough that the City appointed the bridge a district with its own alderman (congressman). Several arches of the bridge collapsed at various points, and several houses on the bridge were burnt in 1381 and in 1450. The buildings on London Bridge created a major fire hazard and increased the weight on London Bridge's arches, so it is not surprising that there were several disasters on the bridge. In 1213, a major fire broke out on both ends of the bridge simultaneously, trapping many people in the middle of the bridge resulting in 3,000 deaths. Another major fire broke out in 1633 destroying a third of the bridge.

By 1722, congestion was becoming so serious that the Mayor ordered that all traffic coming into the city must keep along the west side of the bridge: and traffic going out of the city must keep along the east side of the bridge. This is possibly the origin of traffic in Britain driving on the left. Eventually a new granite bridge was built in 1831 however after widening the bridge, in 1904, to keep up with congestion on the bridge, it was discovered that London Bridge was actually sinking so another bridge was built by 1973 and is still in place today. So, as you can see, London Bridge has a long history of falling down and there is no one significant event where it fell down as some may argue. Note the "ing" on the word fall signifies a process and not a completed action. The nursery rhyme is in fact quite accurate according to the history of the London Bridge.

History Old London Bridge. this is a useful website were you will find a wealth of information regarding the history of the London Bridge.

This is not the only song on BusSongs to feature London Bridge. We also have London Bridge is Broken which has a rather similar theme!

"My Fair lady" in the song is a sarcastic reference to the unpopular Queen Eleanor, whose husband, Henry II gave her the bridge tolls in 1269 - which she spent on herself instead of the upkeep of the bridge, which is why if fell into such serious disrepair.

The "Silver and Gold" of the "stolen away" verse may well refer to those tolls. Although we've also heard it said that it is a reference to the merchants and traders who also had premises built on the bridge - including gold and silversmiths.

Alternative Lyrics & Related Songs

London bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London bridge is falling down
My fair lady.

Build it up with bricks and stones,
Bricks and stones, bricks and stones,
Build it up with bricks and stones
My fair lady.

Additional Line you can add

Take the key and lock her up
Lock her up lock her up
Take the key and lock her up my fair lady.

A mud and clay bridge is featured in this song

Build it up with mud and clay,
Mud and clay, mud and clay,
build it up with mud and clay my fair lady.
Mud and clay will wash away, wash away,
Wash away, mud and clay will wash away my fair lady.
Build it up with sticks and stone, sticks and stones,sticks and stones,
Build it up with sticks and stones, my fair lady.
Sticks and stones will crumble and break, crumble and break,
Sticks and stones will crumble and break my fair lady.

This is the longest version we have found

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady!

Build it up with iron bars,
Iron bars, iron bars.
Build it up with iron bars,
My fair lady!

Iron bars will bend and break,
Bend and break, bend and break.
Iron bars will bend and break,
My fair lady!

Build it up with needles and pins,
Needles and pins, needles and pins.
Build it up with needles and pins,
My fair lady!

Pins and needles rust and bend,
Rust and bend, rust and bend.
Pins and needles rust and bend,
My fair lady!

Build it up with penny loaves,
Penny loaves, penny loaves.
Build it up with penny loaves,
My fair lady!

Penny loaves will tumble down,
Tumble down, tumble down.
Penny loaves will tumble down,
My fair lady!

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, silver and gold.
Build it up with silver and gold,
My fair lady!

Gold and silver I’ve not got,
I’ve not got, I’ve not got.
Gold and silver I’ve not got,
My fair lady!

Here's a prisoner I have got,
I have got, I have got.
Here’s a prisoner I have got,
My fair lady!

What's the prisoner done to you,
Done to you, done to you?
What’s the prisoner done to you,
My fair lady!

Stole my watch and broke my chain,
Broke my chain, broke my chain.
Stole my watch and broke my chain,
My fair lady!

What'll you take to set him free,
Set him free, set him free?
What’ll you take to set him free,
My fair lady!

One hundred pounds will set him free,
Set him free, set him free.
One hundred pounds will set him free,
My fair lady!

One hundred pounds we have not got,
Have not got, have not got.
One hundred pounds we have not got,
My fair lady!

Then off to prison he must go,
He must go, he must go.
Then off to prison he must go,
My fair lady!

Other versions, like this one, have different words


London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with wood and clay,
Wood and clay, wood and clay,
Build it up with wood and clay,
My fair Lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Wash away, wash away,
Wood and clay will wash away,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with bricks and mortar,
Bricks and mortar, bricks and mortar,
Build it up with bricks and mortar,
My fair Lady.

Bricks and mortar will not stay,
Will not stay, will not stay,
Bricks and mortar will not stay,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with iron and steel,
Iron and steel, iron and steel,
Build it up with iron and steel,
My fair Lady.

Iron and steel will bend and bow,
Bend and bow, bend and bow,
Iron and steel will bend and bow,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, silver and gold,
Build it up with silver and gold,
My fair Lady.

Silver and gold will be stolen away,
Stolen away, stolen away,
Silver and gold will be stolen away,
My fair Lady.

Set a man to watch all nigh,
Watch all night, watch all night,
Set a man to watch all night,
My fair Lady.

Suppose the man should fall asleep,
Fall asleep, fall asleep,
Suppose the man should fall asleep?
My fair Lady.

Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
Smoke all night, smoke all night,
Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
My fair Lady.

This is a short version that's easy to teach and easy to memorize

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Here are additional verses

Build it up with wood and clay,
Wood and clay, Wood and clay.
Build it up with wood and clay,
My fair lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Wash away, Wash away.
Wood and clay will wash away,
My fair lady.

This song has been printed from the BusSongs.com website.

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