Bridgetown

When you think of cities with bridges, what do you think? I think Portland. Other correct answers might be New York. San Francisco. Pittsburgh. Chicago.

bridgetown-tower-bridge-trees

London would like to have a word with you.

bridgetown-studying

London has a great waterfront walk along both sides of the Thames river. There were plenty of people out jogging, walking, or just enjoying the typically fickle British weather. Every so often the walk is broken up by yet another bridge. In fact, London probably has some of the most famous bridges in existence.

bridgetown-blackfriars-thames
Blackfriars railway bridge

The only bridge to have a song written about it:

bridgetown-london-bridge-under
This really is its most photogenic angle

The only bridge to have been successfully jumped by a double-decker bus:

bridgetown-tower-bridge
Tower Bridge, and it’s true! Look it up. The driver won a commendation for his bravery.

The only bridge to be shot up by Death Eaters:

bridgetown-millennium-underneath
Probably less true considering it’s still standing, but hey, I saw it in a movie so it must have happened.

The Thames has been a natural divide for the people of London for centuries. There have been so many London bridges throughout history, I lost count somewhere around fourteen while skimming through the Wikipedia page.

bridgetown-tower-bridge-south
This is not London Bridge

I think the London Bridge that fell down was somewhere around #11.

There are a great many other bridges that are mostly unremarkable. Or unless you research them, at which point you realize that they all have a storied past.

bridgetown-thames-riverfront-2
A portion of Southwark Bridge on the south riverfront. That tall building in the background is called “The Shard”. Across the river is another pickle-shaped building called – wait for it – “The Gherkin”

Southwark Bridge’s central span, at 240 feet, is the longest cast iron bridge ever made. The current Waterloo Bridge was built during the Battle of Britain, and is the only bridge to have been hit by German bombers. Westminster Bridge (which leads to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben) was initially opposed by London barge operators. Parliament decided to build it anyway, and today it is the oldest roadway bridge standing in London.

bridgetown-millennium-bridge
Millennium Bridge was only open for two days before it was closed for two years to redesign it so it wouldn’t sway as people walked on it.

I mean, sometimes they’re not great stories, but still… storied past.

Aside from random factoids about random bridges, on either side of the Thames, architecture looms that rivals any major city that isn’t Dubai. Outside of possibly Seattle, I’d say London has one of the most recognizable skylines, because they keep building recognizable structures.

bridgetown-tower-london
Well, they’ve been at it a while…

Some have some fantastic architectural details…

bridgetown-architecture-detail-1
Outside Vintners’ Place

Some are perhaps a little less recognizable, but when the Sun’s out they’re no less interesting.

bridgetown-building-2
Reflections
bridgetown-building-1
More reflections

London’s economy is definitely growing (having a currency that’s nearly double in value to the Dollar doesn’t hurt), so I wonder when they’ll change the city’s official emblem to a crane.

bridgetown-thames-riverfront
Or whatever that cool building on the left is with crane antennae. Oh, look! There’s the Gherkin.

Probably not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *