04 September, 2006

London Bridge

The present London Bridge
Here's an interesting fact:
If you search for 'London Bridge' in Google images you get lots of pictures of Tower Bridge
! It's a common misconception that Tower Bridge is London Bridge. It ain't!
But there is a fascinating story about this misconception. Firstly some brief but interesting history. The so-called Old London Bridge was opened in the year 1209 on the site of a previous bridge that had been destroyed. It remained the only bridge across the Thames until the mid-eighteenth century. 'New' London Bridge was built alongside the old one and opened in 1831 when the old one was dismantled after more than 600 years of service!. 'Modern' London Bridge was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1973.
Robert P. McCulloch of McCulloch Oil paid nearly $2.4 million for the previous bridge and shipped it, brick by brick, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona where it is now Arizona's second largest tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon. The rumours, which have always been strongly denied, are that McCulloch thought he was buying Tower Bridge but you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in London to believe him!
London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Anyway, Lake Havasu has had the last laugh. There is an enormously successful 'English Village' there with mock-Tudor buildings and charming shops creating an atmosphere of medieval England, although I don't think radio station KBBC was around in those days!


Blogger Rob said...

I seem to remember there were strong feelings when that bridge was sold to the Americans. I can't remember if the reaction was outraged or humourous.

I play "London Bridge is falling down" on the piano. The chords are C and G7. It is quite a merry tune which appears not to suit the words.

Monday, September 04, 2006  
Blogger Rob said...

I have just realised there is a connection between this and the "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" drama where a bridge was taken from Middlesborough and re-erected in the Arizona desert.

Monday, September 04, 2006  
Blogger jim said...

Most interesting business, that was a cheap price for that whole bridge. I had heard about this transfer, lived in Arizona a bit, but never saw it or the town. I too, thought the Tower Bridge was the London Bridge, that is from pics, like you say, mis-labeled, I guess. I am starting to long for the UK.

Monday, September 04, 2006  
Blogger Bazza said...

Rob: I think the reaction was incredulous and amazment that anyone would pay anything at all. I believe the title of 'My Fair Lady' was a quote from 'London Bridge is Falling Down'.
Did they think they were buying Sydney Harbour Bridge in 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet'?

Jim: If you are longing for the UK I am going to be teasing you a lot more in the near future!

Monday, September 04, 2006  
Blogger PhoenixHearse said...

Ah, I have seen the bridge at Lake Havasu. It's much smaller in person. I wasn't impressed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006  
Blogger Rob said...

Great post... Very interesting. It hasn't been long since I drove through Arizona. I remember seeing the signs for Laka Havasu. Now I wish I'd have gone there! Oh well, maybe next time :-)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006  
Blogger Andrew said...

That is quite a story indeed!

Thanks for stopping by my place and leaving a comment. I do indeed think self-esteem is often an issue, and standing up for yourself once can be the start down the road to a better place.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006  
Blogger gem said...

What a crummy thing to do, buy a British bridge, move it part and parcel to Arizona, and erect it there, when this wealthy businessman could have helped preserve it in its natural environs, spanning the Thames. No wonder so many people don't like us Americans. Those palm trees flanking The London Bridge say it all.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006  
Blogger jim said...

She is right,Gem is, those palm trees speak very loud and totally off-key, ouch.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006  
Blogger spoon said...

A very interesting site you have! I love that story...makes me chuckle everytime I hear it. I cycled over tower bridge to work every day for about 2 years - the one they thought they were getting...

And just an aside...I nearly killed my neighbour 'cause he had a penchant for whistling 'London Bridge is falling down' all day every day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006  
Blogger Bazza said...

phoenixhearse: Hi, I suppose Lake Havasu is a bit wider than the Thames! Funny thing is that although London Bridge had an interesting history, even in London it was nothing special to look at.

rob: It's difficult to say whether or not it would have been wothwhile.

andrew: thanks for coming back, keep up the good work on your blog!

Gem: Hi, I don't think you need feel too bad; I don't think there was ever any ill-will about it, just amusement.

jim: although the palm trees look a bit odd next to the bridge, I bet we would grow them along the Thames embankment if we could!

spoon: welcome, thanks for the remarks and anecdote!

Thursday, September 07, 2006  

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