I went to an event at City Hall today, the details of which shall be revealed on Sunday. City Hall is right next to Tower Bridge, and I was thinking what a strange thing it is: a Gothic mechanised bridge. Particularly since the Victorians didn’t obviously erect such things in a spirit of fun or irony. I guess they just didn’t see anything odd about it.
The bridge has a peculiar relationship with the Tower of London. They stand there together, both in the same coloured stone and a similar style, and invite you to think of them as a matched pair. The Tower, of course, is genuinely medieval, but depending what mood you’re in, either the influence of the bridge lends the Tower a false, Disney quality, or the Tower gives the bridge a spurious air of ancientness. It’s hard to believe that 800 years separates the two of them.
There aren’t many medieval buildings left in London, mainly because of the Great Fire, and curiously enough another of them has a very similar dynamic going on – Westminster Abbey, which sits next to the rampant gothicity of the Houses of Parliament. If the Abbey was surrounded by glistening glass and steel office blocks, it would seem more genuine.