London Bridge, perhaps the most famous of the bridges I walked because it fell down, rivaled the Waterloo Bridge for boring-ness (see July 29 post). Both were similarly plain concrete structures. The London Bridge is slightly more interesting for having a dedicated bus lane, but I can’t stand the maroon color of the bus lanes. Luckily the surroundings were more interesting than those at the Waterloo Bridge.
I loved the geometry of these buildings visible from the London Bridge. I went onto Google Maps to try and discover what they are as I did for Lambeth Bridge (see June 28, and Maps are Awesome! posts), but when I did, I found that Google Maps has the London Bridge miss-labeled. The pinpoint for London Bridge sits right on top of the Tower Bridge. As I mentioned in my Waterloo Bridge post, I had also at one time mistaken the Tower Bridge for the London Bridge. While the London Bridge is the most famous in song, the Tower Bridge is the most famous in images. I believe that it for this reason–that both bridges are the most famous in London, but in different media–that they get mistakenly identified. (For some reason it is hard to imagine that there might be more than one famous bridge in London.)
The pointy building in the background is the London offices of Zurich, an insurance company. The blue glass building houses Northern and Shell, a media company. Next to that building and lower down is the Old Billingsgate Market, which used to house the largest fish market in the world (the market moved to Canary Wharf area, but is still the largest in the UK based on its website).
A battleship was parked in between the London and Tower bridges. At first, I thought it was the battleship I saw on the news in the days before walking the bridge as the one moving up the Thames in an exercise to practice for the Olympic security measures. Afterwards, I realized that this one (the HMS Belfast) was probably a permanent fixture and had not just traveled up the Thames. It turns out I was correct the second time as the HMS Belfast is now part of the Imperial War Museums.
I received this comment by email and thought it should be shared:
“You ought to mention the history of the London Bridge. The older “new” LB, is in Arizona.
It is rumored that the buyer thought he was getting the Tower Bridge, as it is commonly mistaken as the LB. The LB now spanning the Thames was built in 1973.
This is really a great story. There has been a bridge at the Thames site since Roman times, thus it is London’s oldest, and rightfully “London’s Bridge.” The one that was always “falling down,” or “broken down” in some versions of the rhyme, was built in the 12th century and was covered with buildings similar to the Ponte Vecchio, in Florence, Italy. The 19th century LB was unable to support the increase in traffic and closed in 1967. Because of its fame it was not simply torn down, but disassembled, sold to a billionaire and moved to Arizona, where a new “town” was built around it. Next time you are in AZ you should make an effort to walk it.”
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