Search

You can make your mark on Tower Bridge and be part of its history if you have a story to tell

PUBLISHED: 15:34 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:51 05 October 2020

Schoolchildren regailed with story of the 78 bus to Shoreditch that lept over gap in 1952 as Tower Bridge was opening for shipping to pass... and landed safely the other side! Picture: Lucy Hunter

Schoolchildren regailed with story of the 78 bus to Shoreditch that lept over gap in 1952 as Tower Bridge was opening for shipping to pass... and landed safely the other side! Picture: Lucy Hunter

Lucy Hunter

Anyone with a tale to tell about visiting Tower Bridge now get a chance to have it displayed on screen in a project telling the story of London’s defining landmark.

London's defining landmark known the world over, depicted on a 1937 postcard. Picture: Tower Bridge ExhibitionLondon's defining landmark known the world over, depicted on a 1937 postcard. Picture: Tower Bridge Exhibition

The most iconic story to go with the iconic bridge is of course the famous “bus leap” in 1952 when a No 78 double-decker heading to Shoreditch from Camberwell started to cross just as it began to lift to let shipping pass into the Pool of London.

Bus driver Albert Gunter didn’t see the bascule arms rising on that December day as he passed under the arch of the first tower and suddenly had to make a quick decision.

Albert put his foot down, revved up and went hell-for-leather in his RT double-decker over the widening gap with 20 passengers and a bus-conductor on board and somehow landed safely on the other side. Luckily the north bascule hadn’t started lifting yet. No-one got hurt!

Restored Victorian egine room at Tower Bridge getting some TLC maintenance. Picture: Lucy HunterRestored Victorian egine room at Tower Bridge getting some TLC maintenance. Picture: Lucy Hunter

Just the year before, in 1951, Frank Miller flew a light aircraft through Tower Bridge for a 35-shilling bet (£1.75) with his 13-year-old son that he could do it. He won the bet, but that wasn’t enough to cover his £100 fine. He was not the first to fly a plane through Tower Bridge, either.

The story-telling project kicks off with a public exhibition opening next week that runs for six months, depicting staff, engineers and visitors past and present who have played a part in its 126-year history.

“We have the opportunity to speak directly with people from all over the world,” bridgemaster Chris Earlie explained.

Bridgemaster Chris Earlie... Bridgemaster Chris Earlie... "Chance to speak with people from all over the world." Picture: Lucy Hunter

“It’s their own stories about Tower Bridge today, rather than us sifting back through history books.”

The Lives of a Landmark exhibition on show in the restore Victorian engine rooms from October 16 was created with images by photographer Lucy Hunter, who was commissioned last year to document the 125-year anniversary of the Victorian engineering masterpiece.

She recorded the modern life of Tower Bridge rather than just delving into its rich past.

Staff welcome visitors to Tower Bridge every day from around the world. Picture: Lucy HunterStaff welcome visitors to Tower Bridge every day from around the world. Picture: Lucy Hunter

Visitors making their way up the iconic neo-Gothic towers and along the high-level walkway with its glass floor looking down on the City will arrive at the engine rooms where Lucy’s rolling exhibition runs for six months from the Friday after next (Oct 16). They can even talk to the bridge workers themselves and fire questions.

Stories with snapshots or video can be submitted through social media #MyTowerBridge hashtag for a chance have them displayed on-screen alongside Lucy’s pictures.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East London Advertiser