Friday, August 12, 2005

London bridges

Here's a lovely view of the Thames at low tide (yes, the tides are felt upriver) and four of the eight or so (not counting railroad) bridges that cross it. The one in the foreground is the Millennium Bridge, strictly for pedestrians. The one beyond it is the Southwark Bridge. Hidden from view beyond it is the new London Bridge (the old London Bridge having been bought up by an American entrepreneur and carted off to Arizona or somewhere), and in the distance are the two towers of Tower Bridge (which visitors routinely mistake for London Bridge). During my 1999 visit, they were just driving the piling for the Millennium Bridge. It was opened to great fanfare at the turn of the millennium but had to be closed immediately. There was a flaw in the design that caused it to sway precariously. They stiffened it and reopened six months later.

It didn't sway when I walked across on Wednesday. At its apex it's about six stories high, and gives a terrific view of the city.

Here's the Millennium Bridge from a different angle and looking south. The industrial building with the stack in the background was once a power generating station, now renovated as the new ("Modern") Tate art museum. Where the generators once stood is now a grand, three-story gallery for exceptionally large exhibits.

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