The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Under The Bridge

On Saturday we visited Tower Bridge. For five quid, you can go up one of the towers, saunter along the top, have a mooch around, saunter back along the top, and have a mooch around the engine rooms from when it was all steam-powered.

Quite fun. There was the seemingly-obligatory video re-enactment movie, starring Timothy West as Horace Jones, the guy with a dream of a bridge that combines both bascule and suspension systems, featuring Clive Swift as the pen-pusher from city hall who doesn’t believe it can be done. But Timothy West won’t play by the rules, dammit, he’ll build a bridge his way or no way at all.

After you’ve sat through that, and looked up at the life-size dummies of builders in the rafters, you get to saunter along the top bit. Which I’d kind of not been looking forward to, what with having vertigo, and remembering the rather exciting climax of James Herbert’s 1948 with the guy caught in a shoot-out with Nazi plague zombies. And people say I have no taste in literature.

But it wasn’t like that. There’s no drop, very little sense of height. Just a nice view, and lots of informative pictures of other bridges. The thinking being, ‘Hey, if you’ve enjoyed this bridge, here are some others you might enjoy...’ Of which I’d already done Golden Gate, Forth, Ironbridge and Brooklyn. Turns out, I’m well on the way to become a bridge-spotter. I think cantelever bridges are my favourite. On balance.

Not so excited by the old pumps. It’s something I try to keep secret in polite company, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t really ‘get’ the appeal of hydraulic lifting systems. It’s just one of those crazes that has passed me by.

But well worth a visit.

more pics on flickr

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