Three cheers for the Thames Festival!
Perhaps I don't get out often enough and could be too easilly impressed, but I had a great time at the festival yesterday. The South Bank was a comsopolitan delight! It was great to be back in South-East London, my spiritual home which, for the first twenty-two years of my life was my actual home. I may have rubbed shoulders with some of you yesterday without knowing. During that first twenty-two years I only saw Tower Bridge opening once, but I saw it again yesterday. Did they lay that on just for me I wonder.
I hope my memory isn't playing tricks, but I'm sure I remember seeing a report in a newspaper from the 1950's when, due to some fault,Tower Bridge began to open unexpectedly and a bus had to leap the small gap that had opened up. Can anyone corroborate this? Pity we had to leave before the firework display, but my youngest had school today and we didn't get home til 10.45 as it was. The last display I saw over the Thames was after a Lord Mayor's show back in the mid-eighties. That display reputedly cost £100,000! I couldn't hazzard a guess how much yesterday's cost. It would without doubt been bigger and better to boot.
Having done a little research I can answer my own question re the above. In December 1952 a number 78 bus was on the bridge when, due to a misunderstanding between two of the bridge operatives, (one of whom was a temporary replacement) the bridge began to open before the warning signals could be sounded or the gates closed. The bus driver, to his credit, made the snap decicion to accelerate and cleared the three foot gap. No on was injured.
I agree, The Thames Festival is always such a good occasion; huge crowds and such a friendly atmosphere. Couldn't go yesterday as I was a tad under the weather but I did watch the fireworks from my kitchen window, and I thought them the best yet. The finale was amazing; huge gold florets exploding one after the other until they filled the sky with glitter. Do wish they were a bit earlier though as my neighbour would have liked to take his daughter but it was way past her bedtime.