Comedian Jay Foreman takes a look at why there are no bridges in East London that cross the River Thames in the third installment of his “Unfinished London” series.
In west London you’re spoiled for choice for ways to cross the river Thames. But in east London, the Thames is your wet nemesis. …Greater London effectively operates like a Pacman with a “wakka-wakka” wide gap between these isolated communities. So how did London end up so unfairly asymmetrical?
Foreman, who looked at the convoluted history of London Bridge and the recent history of Tower Bridge, explained the specific reasons why East London was left out of many plans. First, the river is narrower on the West side of London. Secondly, shipping businesses held great sway over bridge building in the 19th Century and they thought it too costly to build another crossing like Tower Bridge, and third, there was no need for a new crossing by the citizens of East London.
Basically there are three reasons why it’s easier to build bridges in West London than East London. One. Geography. In the west, the River Thames is a narrow squiggly trickle where bridge building is easy. …Two. Shipping. In the late 19th century, when London did most of it’s growing, it was the biggest shipping port in the world making bridge building east of the ports practically impossible. …And that wasn’t going to happen, because… Three. No demand. Historically, East London has always been poorer and more sparsely populated than west London with no rich people to pay tolls and no important people to complain.