Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blackfriars Bridge - London

Blackfriars Bridge across the River Thames in London. View up the River.

This photo from the Blackfriars Bridge in London is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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Blackfriars Bridge is busy, some 54,000 vehicles a day kind of busy. It crosses the River Thames in London linking the City of London with Southwark. Nearby on the North side are both St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Temple in the City. Landmarks on the south side include the Tate Modern, Southwark Cathedral and the Oxo Tower. The next car bridge up-river is Waterloo Bridge and down river is London Bridge (often confused with Tower Bridge).

A crossing at Blackfriars Bridge has existed since 1769, when the first, a toll bridge, was built and was originally called the William Pitt Bridge after the then Prime Minister. The current iron bridge was built in 1869 and widened in 1910 as the volume of traffic grew.

The view in this image is up the Thames facing West. The Oxo Tower is off to the right, and The Temple is off to the left. Along the North bank are several permanently moored ships that act as both restaurants and night clubs. Most pedestrians crossing the Thames are likely to head for the Millennium Bridge which links St. Paul’s to the Tate Modern just a little further down river. The nearest tube stations are Blackfriars (also a National Rail station) and Southwark.

One of the things that made Blackfriars Bridge (in)famous in recent years was the discovery of the body of Roberto Calvi, was found hanged below one of the arches in 1982. Snr Calvi was the chairman of the Banco Ambrosiano and worked closely with the Vatican, earning him the nickname ‘God’s Banker’.

The bank collapsed in one of Italy’s largest political scandals. His death was at first attributed to suicide, but is now accepted to have been murder. He escaped Italy on a false passport and turned up dead in London 8 days later with bricks and some $15,000 in cash in his pockets. Claims have been made that Calvi's death involved the Vatican Bank (Banco Ambrosiano's main shareholder), the Mafia (which may have used Banco Ambrosiano for money laundering), and the Propaganda Due or P2 masonic lodge, of which Calvi was a member.

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The full panoramic image showing of the view from Blackfriars Bridge can be found on the London tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

For more articles on London see the London Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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