Some of the last remnants of the 1831 London Bridge will be protected and restored as part of £1.8million heritage project by Be First, partly funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The last pieces of the old bridge, which was sold to an American developer in 1967 and relocated to Arizona, will be restored by Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering regeneration company, Be First, as part of a restoration project around Barking Abbey.
The granite blocks are currently part of a sculpture near the Grade II listed Curfew Tower by the ruins of Barking Abbey. They were brought to the borough in 2006 and turned into a sculpture by Joost Van Santen.
Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said: “We will be sprucing up the area around the Curfew Tower to encourage people to enjoy our local heritage and, as part of the landscaping, we will be polishing up these hidden jewels from the old London Bridge.
“And, I can promise we will not be selling off our parts of London Bridge to anyone, whether they’re from Arizona or Azerbaijan!”
The refurbishment work will include a new landscaped entrance to the Abbey Green ruins from East Street, Barking around the Curfew Tower.
The work is part of a heritage project by Be First which includes refurbishing the historic shop fronts in the Barking Conservation Area and a programme of community engagement on local history.
David Harley, Head of Regeneration at Be First, said: “At Be First we’re keen to preserve and celebrate the borough’s history. The Abbey ruins and the London Bridge stones are not only precious to Barking and Dagenham, they are precious to London.”
Be First will be consulting on the designs of the project later this year before restoration works begin in 2020.