London Bridge

London U.K. / Havasu City, Arizona, USA

Demolished, moved and reassembled 1967

The Disappointed Tourist: London Bridge, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

This was the second London Bridge on this site, replacing the medieval Old London Bridge. It was the last project of engineer John Rennie and was completed by his son John Rennie the Younger after his death. By 1962 it wad determined that the bridge could not support the increased traffic and the City of London decided to replace it. The bridge was purchased by Robert P. McCulloch for $2.46 million (1.78 pounds) to use as an attraction in Lake Havasu City, a retirement community that he founded in Arizona. The bridge was disassembled, all the stones were numbered and the stones were then rebuilt over a concrete structure in the new Bridgewater Channel Canal. The rebuilt bridge was opened in 1971 and remains a tourist attraction and has been featured in several movies and TV shows. The current London Bridge which replaced this one, opened in 1972. McCulloch always denied that he had actually thought he was buying the more famous Tower Bridge. The painting is based on an uncredited old black and white photograph.

Do you know the 1969 song “London Bridge” by Bread? It actually refers to this bridge:

London Bridge is finally fallin’ down, they packed it up and shipped it outta town
London bridge is always fallin’ down, but there it stood within the heart of town… reminding everyone of life behind and life to come.

That’s what I always think of when I see it. My father lives near this bridge in Arizona and I always wanted to see it back in London. Maria R.