Brits Here To Set The Record Straight

While Lake Havasu City residents, for the most part, take the London Bridge for granted, there are some Brits unfamiliar with its unique and fantastic history.

The London Bridge was built across the Thames in London and opened in 1831. There it stood until traffic became so heavy and its age complicated the heavy weight that it became apparent that a new bridge was needed.

News spread that the City of London was seeking a buyer of the London Bridge and it wasn’t too long until entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch saw the bridge as the perfect icon for his infant city in the middle of the Arizona desert.

The London Bridge under construction in Lake Havasu City. photo courtesy the Schimmel Family

McCulloch bought the bridge and had it shipped piece by piece to the United States via Long Beach, Calif. From Long Beach, the numbered blocks were shipped to Lake Havasu City. The bridge was reconstructed and dedicated on Oct. 10, 1971.

Enter Lauren Potts and Douglas Marshall. The pair are with the British Broadcasting Corp. website, based in Birmingham, England.

Potts, who was a student at Arizona State University during her sophomore year about 10 years ago, visited Lake Havasu City on a trip to San Francisco, Calif. Marshall had never been to the area.

“I basically came up with this story because I’d been to Havasu before. …I was 19 and didn’t think too much about it. I was recently reminded on Facebook and remembered, ‘oh, yeah.’ The real London Bridge is in the desert and I thought it would be a good story,” Potts said.

Douglas said he grew up in London and knew about the London Bridge.

“There’s a myth that’s grown up in London about this guy from America who thought he was buying the Tower Bridge. That’s what I knew about it and I’m here to film it,” he said.

“I figured a guy who is a millionaire with as many businesses as he did, knew exactly what bridge he was buying,” Potts said.

Both agreed the research they have done on the story has revealed the incredible story of the journey of the bridge from London to Lake Havasu City.

“It’s an incredible story. You just almost can’t get your head around it,” Potts said.

She said she is looking forward to speaking with members of the McCulloch family.

Robert McCulloch, Sr. far right. Photo courtesy McCulloch Family.

“I want them to paint the picture about why someone would go to such lengths to buy something almost immoveable, move it around the world and build a city up around it. I like the fact that Havasu grew up around it and sprawled out. It’s an incredible story,” Potts said.

Douglas commented on the youth of the city.

“The fact that Lake Havasu City was just began in 1964 … there’s nothing in London that stared in 1964. What we know about America … pioneering and Wild Wild West … it’s kind of a modern-day version of that. Go somewhere that’s quite tough. It was just desert there was nothing here,” he said.

Both said they wanted their project to set the record straight about the bridge for their countrymen and women.

Both also agreed they had pictured the bridge as an icon that people came to look at and walk across.

The London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“I had no idea that it was used every day by the people here. I’m staying on the other side and I realize it’s is a daily part of people’s lives,” Potts said. “It’s much nicer looking than our London Bridge. Ours is steel and concrete,” she added.

Marshall said that on their journey to Havasu, people were saying they were coming to see “their bridge.”

People coming here said “oh, you’re going to see ‘your’ bridge.”

“It just goes to show how synonymous the bridge is with London,” Potts said.

A view of the London Bridge from Lake Havasu’s early years. photo courtesy Lake Havasu Museum of History

 

 

 

 


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