Narrow bridges

Why there are no bridges in east London

Comedian Jay Foreman humorously explains why there are no bridges in east London that cross the Thames in the third installment of his ‘Unfinished London’ series.

In West London, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to crossing the Thames. But in east London, the Thames is your wet enemy. … Greater London effectively functions as a Pacman with a wide “wakka-wakka” divide between these isolated communities. So how did London end up so unfairly skewed?

Foreman, who has previously examined the convoluted history of London Bridge and the surprisingly recent history of Tower Bridge, explained the specific reasons why East London has been left out of many crossing plans. First, the river is narrower on the west side of London. Secondly, the shipping companies were very influential in building bridges in the 19th century and they thought it was too expensive to build another crossing like Tower Bridge, and thirdly, the people of East London did not want a new pass.

Basically, there are three reasons why it is easier to build bridges in West London than in East London. A. Geography. To the west, the Thames is a narrow, wavy trickle where bridge building is easy. …Of them. Dispatch. By the end of the 19th century, when London was achieving most of its growth, it was the largest seaport in the world, making it virtually impossible to build bridges east of the ports. …And it wasn’t going to happen, because… Three. No request. Historically, East London has always been poorer and less populated than West London, with no rich to pay the tolls and no important people to complain about.

Foreman also reviews the history of east London level crossings, including plans for other bridges and tunnels linking north and south in the East End. Some of them succeeded and many others failed due to world wars, financial problems, traffic jams and objections from the community. Foreman suggests another option.

It is a paradox. East London desperately needs connections, but East London also desperately needs to not be ruined by pollution and traffic jams. So what could be the solution? There’s actually a pretty bright one. The two as yet unconnected East Londons are a great opportunity to create ambitious new car-free passageways for rail, trams, cycling and walking. Ignoring the current demand for new routes and instead planning routes that do not yet exist