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London Bridge is Falling Down

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

There are references to various bridges of this name  throughout the long history of London and many of these incarnations came to a sticky end. King Olaf pulled down a London Bridge in 1014, another was washed away by a flood in 1097, yet another was destroyed by fire in 1135.  It has been a toll bridge,  a drawbridge, has had houses upon it and has been a site for the display of bloody heads (minus their bodies!).

“New” London Bridge was designed by John Rennie and opened in 1831.  By 1896 it was  probably the busiest point in London and needed to be widened in an attempt to relieve congestion. It was soon discovered, however, that this version of the bridge was also falling down; it was sinking by as much as one inch every eight years and by 1924 the east side had sunk some three to four inches lower than the west side.

In 1967 the ill-fated bridge was put on the market and was purchased the following year by the Missourian entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch for US$2,460,000.  The bridge was carefully dismantled and  then shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and trucked from Long Beach to Arizona, where it was reconstructed at Lake Havasu City in Arizona.


“New” London Bridge, Lake Havasu City

Meanwhile, in London, a new bridge was commissioned and built in London and opened in 1973.

The Lake Havasu version is now the second most popular tourist attraction in Arizona, after the Grand canyon of course.  The setting on the lake is very attractive, but it is accompanied by a slightly tacky “Tudor” shopping area.

Linked to the Next Challenge: BridgesTravel Photo Monday and Our World Tuesday.

11 replies »

  1. Why would anyone go to that much trouble?? Tearing it down and hauling somewhere else, that’s crazy. I can only assume it was something to do with the historical value.


    • Probably. There was at least a suggestion that either the purchaser or the public though that. Or they may have thought it was an older version of the bridge, the one with rows of houses on it. The one they got is really quite plain! But it is a huge tourist attraction nonetheless.


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