Tower Bridge taken over by Bella the Cat who saves a London bus from crashing

Cats' Day on Tower Bridge is September 15, 2018. Picture sources: Tower Bridge (inset) and Mike Broo

Cats' Day on Tower Bridge is September 15, 2018. Picture sources: Tower Bridge (inset) and Mike Brooke - Credit: Tower Bridge/Mike Brooke

One lovable pussy-cat is taking over the iconic Tower Bridge for the day when a new feline adventure book comes out.

Was Bella the cat involved in the 1952 incident where a 78 bus lept across the gap as the Tower Brid

Was Bella the cat involved in the 1952 incident where a 78 bus lept across the gap as the Tower Bridge bascules suddenly opend? Picture: Clive Totman - Credit: Clive Totman

Downing Street has Larry the Cat, while Southwark Cathedral has its Doorkins Magnificat and even the Savoy Hotel has Kaspar the cat mascot.

So the bridge operators, not to be outdone, are introducing Bella the Bridge Master’s Cat who is the star of a new storybook set on Tower Bridge out on September 15.

Bella’s adventure was inspired by a true incident in 1952 when a number 78 double-decker on route between Shoreditch Church to Camberwell leaped across the gap as the bascules suddenly opened.

Author Tee Dobinson with image by Steve Cox of Bella the cat. Pictture source: Tower Bridge

Author Tee Dobinson with image by Steve Cox of Bella the cat. Pictture source: Tower Bridge - Credit: Tower Bridge

The driver made a snap decision to rev up and make a dash for it when realising it was too late to stop and reverse as the bascules began lifting—he made it and was later rewarded with £10 for his bravery.


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But we learn 66 years later that Bella the Cat, apparently, had something to do with it.

Author Tee Dobinson and illustrator Steve Cox have created their own version of the story with Bella at the centre of the action.

The real bridgemaster... Chris Erlie. Picture: Mike Brooke

The real bridgemaster... Chris Erlie. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

The book launch is part of a ‘Feline Day’ on September 15 for children, families, cat fans and book lovers, with a whisker of a chance to snap a ‘selfie’ with Bella.

The historic Tower Bridge was created by architect Sir Horace Jones and civil engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry, Bella recalls, and was officially opened on June 30, 1894, by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII.

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Its main attraction today is the glass floor on the high-level walkways 130ft above the Thames where visitors can pussyfoot onto the glass floor panels while traffic passes below—the panels can withstand the weight of an elephant, Bella assures you.

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