The 325m long London Millennium Footbridge, opened on June 10th 2000, links Tate Modern with the City of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. It had been over 100 years, since the construction of Tower Bridge, that central London had been provide with a new walkway across the River Thames.
In 1996 for the upcoming millennium celebrations, an international architectural ‘bridge building’ competition was held in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The winning entry was the innovative steel “blade of light”, a superb match of engineering and art by designers Arup, Foster and Partners and the sculptor Sir Anthony Caro.
The design used lateral suspension to avoid the use of tall supporting columns enabling the bridge to be low, sleek and elegant. A beautiful addition to the River Thames that gives unimpeded views to walkers.
Although the bridge is designed to support up to 5000 people, initial problems were caused when it first opened when thousands crossed together and set up vibrations which resulted in the bridge swaying sideways.
It was closed until 2002 while dampers were installed which prevented the movement, but the bridge is still also affectionately known as the wobbly bridge.
When the bridge was re-opened in early 2002 tens of thousands of people queued to walk over the bridge, not quite as many as on its original opening day when an estimated 100,000 people crossed.
A now famous London landmark the bridge appeared in the 2009 film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.