Saturday, 4 February 2017

Watching #TowerBridge: A Love Letter @TowerBridge

DC Editor Adam writes…

In December 2016 I posted the The Daily Constitutional's blog post number 5,000.

To mark the occasion I've been digging in the archive and over February 2017 I'll be reblogging The DC's "Greatest Hits" – my 50 favourite posts. 

In addition I'll be sharing my 50 favourite London photos to have appeared here since October 2008. 

I hope you enjoy them

Feb 2017

This one was first posted on 31st August 2011 as part of my It's A London Thing series. Note in the photo that The Shard is not yet finished…

It’s a London Thing is my series in which I turn the spotlight on a unique aspect of London – perhaps a curious shop, sometimes an eccentric restaurant, a hidden place, book or oddity. The subject matter will be different every week. The running theme, however, will remain constant: you have to come to London to enjoy it. It’s A London Thing.

London’s most famous bridge is undoubtedly Tower Bridge. Indeed Tower Bridge is so famous that many first time visitors (and perhaps even some Londoners) still think that it is called London Bridge. An easy mistake to make, I suppose.

(London Good Deed: If a visitor should approach you asking for directions to London Bridge, don’t just blithely send ‘em off to the plain Jane that links The City with The Borough. Ask them first to describe the bridge in question. Eight times out of ten they’ll be looking for Tower Bridge.)

This is not to do London Bridge a disservice. London Bridge is the best vantage point from which to witness one of the truly great London Things.

Tower Bridge opens around 1000 times a year to allow river traffic to pass underneath on the way upstream. Twenty-four hours notice is required if you are bringing your vessel through this famous London gateway. And watching it open is most certainly A London Thing. But there’s more.

Standing on London Bridge watching the people who are watching Tower Bridge raise its famous bascule mechanism is an event in itself. Everyone stops to watch, women, men, boys, girls. And they all enjoy the spectacle.

But keep a particular eye on gentlemen of, ‘ow you say, a certain age.

They’re not just making the decision to stop: they are compelled to do so. Some atavistic impulse has rooted them to the spot; something lost deep in childhood, something about the noble calling of engineering, something about a lost Golden Age.

There’s a misty eyed feeling about them as they watch. And there’s a singular joy in watching someone glory in a simple pleasure.

Watching Blameless Middle-Aged/Older/Old Men As They Watch Tower Bridge Open. It’s a London Thing.

P.S Re-reading this post I'm worried that it may sound like I am being satirical at the expense of old duffers everywhere. Far from it! I proudly include myself in their number! I've got the Old Duffers membership card and everything!

February 2017

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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