Monday, June 18, 2007

Millennium Bridge: Cross from Cathedral to Modern

Two of London’s famous landmarks are connected by the $25 million Millennium Bridge. The Tate Modern gallery on the South Bank and St Paul’s Cathedral in the City to the north. The bridge was built in 2000 and is the only pedestrian crossing over the Thames. A former power station building, The Tate Modern (pictured in the distance at top) is a wing of the Tate Gallery to house the musuem's modern art collection. St Paul's Cathedral (pictured in the distance below) is Britian's only domed cathedral with one of the world's largest domes, second only to that of St. Peter's in Rome, and site of the wedding ceremony between Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana in 1981.
The bridge is supposed to give the impression of a single sweeping ‘blade of light’. When it first opened, it swayed so badly that some of the pedestrians felt seasick. After a couple of days, the bridge was closed as dangerous. At a cost of $7 million and 20 months to stabilize the structure, it reopened in 2002. The bridge is 370 yards long and only four yards wide. The handrails are an aerodynamic design to deflect the wind over the head of pedestrians. The picture below was taken midway on the bridge facing east toward Tower Bridge, seen in the distance.
The Monday (28 May 07) of my holiday began with my first time crossing this bridge. Despite the bank holiday (national holiday), the weather all over the country couldn't be worst for a day in May. I knew something was up as soon as I could see my breath after leaving my hotel. The wind chill felt freezing cold. On my way to my next destination I found some warmth from the weather at Shakespeare's Globe Theater box office lobby which includes a pleasant cafe and gift shop.

Crossing the bridge is free. Nearest tube stops are St. Paul’s, Blackfriars and Southwark. Pictured below are the bridge supports.


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