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10-10-1971

London Bridge is Sold

Without It There Would Be No ‘My Fair Lady’

The river Thames. Old Father Thames. The Big Wet One. That Thing At The Start of EastEnders. It has many names and many bridges that cross it. But surely none are as notable as London Bridge, made famous by that annoying and slightly sinister children’s song. There has been a crossing device dubbed ‘London Bridge’ since Roman times. A medieval contraption did the job for about 600 years until it was replaced in 1831 by ‘New’ London Bridge, which soon became the busiest and most congested river crossing in the capital and slowly started to sink, so it had to be replaced. But rather than knocking it down or blowing it up, in 1967 the council decided to sell it. And who loves buying bridges? That’s right! Gullible Americans with large cigars, cowboy hats and constant gum chewing. The American in question was entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch. Legend has it he thought he was actually getting Tower Bridge, but this has been fervently denied. The bridge was sent, piece by piece, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona where it was reassembled and finally reopened on this day in 1971. It’s still a popular tourist attraction and has featured in films starring Tom Bosley and Michael Pennington.