Last updated: 30 july, 2010 - 09:18 GMT

Spanning the World

An impression of Old London Bridge depicting houses built on it

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Bridges can symbolize man's desire to span the world, to bring people closer together and to access further territories.

This series looks at the significance of bridges as icons, as a means of connecting communities - or delineating separateness.

Part Four - London Bridge

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down
My fair lady.

As the children's nursery rhyme above shows, London Bridge - which crosses the river Thames - is famous for being built and rebuilt.

The river Thames - which the bridge crosses - separates two very different parts of London. To the north is the city of London, while Southwark - where Shakespeare's Globe theatre can be found - is to the south.

It has served as a crossing, a shopping district, a housing settlement and a platform for the grotesque display of criminal's heads.

It has also - surprisingly - ended up in a desert of Arizona.

First broadcast 30 July 2010



  • What does the Brooklyn Bridge mean to people?

  • The Ponte Milvio is a site of romance and religion

  • Can a bridge unite two countries with a past?

  • How did London Bridge end up in Arizona?


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