Why are there no bridges in East London?

Why are there no bridges in East London?

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Written and created by
JAY FOREMAN https://twitter.com/jayforeman
PAUL KENDLER https://twitter.com/KendlerPaul

Edited by

JADE NAGI https://twitter.com/Jade_Nagi

Director of Photography / additional animation

Camera Assistants

Ken Livingstone

Boris Johnson / Surfshark grandson

Bird feeder

Thanks to
JAGO HAZZARD for his clips of the Woolwich Ferry, and East London
original videos:

TOM SCOTT for his clips of Tower Bridge
original video: https://youtu.be/iitXhgif_lo
(and doing the exploding road animation which I used previously in episode 2 in 2012)

@StrategicCities and @GartonHil for their clips of Sydney Harbour
@WillJarman8 for help with the thumbnail

For info on Hammersmith bridge, go to…

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38 Responses

  1. Medlife Crisis says:

    I had no idea that Ken’s bridge started construction! I used to always wonder why that random flyover between Tesco and the road to Asda even existed. It just went between parallel roads. Jokes aside, the cross river transport chaos is one of the reasons I left 😐

  2. ChromaFox says:

    The Millennium Bridge didn’t actually struggle to take the weight, they just accidentally didn’t take into account the resonance effect of hundreds of pedestrians walking in step, the small vibrations of the bridge would produce a slight sway which made people start to step in time with the sway and that added to the effect.

    • ChromaFox says:

      @DynamicWorlds It was designed for normal humans, but they didn’t account for the perception of minor wobble causing people to gradually all start walking in step with each other. Normally that kind of deliberate side to side wobble you’d only accomplish if everyone planned it but people did it naturally when they started to perceive a tiny wobble.

    • ChromaFox says:

      @Andi dubya Electrical and Electronics was my main, but I did some classes with mechanical engineering too, materials was one of my favourite subjects.

    • ChromaFox says:

      @Tom Riley Yes, this is what I meant to describe but you put it better. I remember watching the video of everyone walking in step, not even deliberately at first but they naturally do it.

    • Andrew Cox says:

      A family member was on the bridge for the opening. It was quite disconcerting to walk on before it was fixed.

  3. Droidman1231 says:

    My city, while very different than London, has an old, historic bridge that was deemed unfit for car’s weight and made redundant by other nearby, larger crossings. They were going to ear it down but activists fought to make it a pedestrian and cyclist only bridge and it’s one of the top focal points of the city now and allows me to live car-free (car-lite) on one side of the river while comfortably getting to services on the other side.

    • Riz says:

      @Chaos Corner don’t be dense. Pedestrians and cyclists don’t cause nearly as much strain or damage to a bridge designed for cars and trucks than do the cars and trucks that use it.

    • sping253 says:


    • Chaos Corner says:

      My concern would be that the maintenance on a bridge designed for one kind of traffic might be too much when it comes to it supporting a different kind of traffic. Not necessarily a bad thing to use a bridge that’s in decline for though.

    • Dylan Johannson says:

      Which city would that be?

  4. Ben Conneran says:

    The man just doesn’t miss! He’s been making this series almost half his life and he hasn’t missed once! Incredible.

  5. The Engineering Mindset says:

    I’ve lived in east London for many years, we need someone to make an Uber service for local boat owners, so we can cross the river or get into central. The Thames clipper service is obscenely expensive. £9.60 for a 430 meter trip 1 stop, from double tree to canary wharf and back. How?

    • Gonzales Orgaz says:

      Because you shouldve stayed in east. Enjoy your Westfield and stay in your zone.

    • chris D says:

      @Operation Darkside lol it would be more gentle on the cardiovascular system to cycle from Surrey.

    • chris D says:

      Sure a cheaper ticket …. but I’m sure someone will die with 5 years.

    • WhiteDieselShed says:

      Sounds like a job for Derek’s Dinghies, bargain river crossing of only £8.99 assuming you help row or bail the excess water out. Dry change of clothing sealed in a watertight bag is essential. Opening soon.

    • Filip Schneider says:

      It’s just about the priorities.

      In Prague ferries are part of public transport. And in Amsterdam they are completely free (this really speeds up onboarding/offboarding) and built in a way to transport dozens of bikes as well as pedestrians on a single trip.

  6. Toby Riding says:

    I just wanted to mention how much better the camera quality is in most of the video than your previous ones. Video quality has never been necessary for videos like yours with such great content but it looks amazing!

  7. Craig says:

    As a civil engineer I’m in the fortunate position of both seeing the changes we need to make, and being at the coal face implementing them. You are quite right that at present we are building infrastructure for cycle demand that doesn’t yet exist. A lot of people get up in arms about this, but forget it’s also what we’ve been doing with motorways and trunk roads for the last 60+ years. I find it almost romantic that car usage has come full circle in almost a century and a half. And a quote attributed to Henry Ford: “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” A move to to greener modes of transport may not be what the people want, but it is certainly what they need.

    • TacticusPrime says:

      “At the coalface”, what a wonderfully British metaphor.

    • franklingoodwin says:

      @mytimetravellingdog The pandemic had a lot to do with the increase in cycling in London. It’s probably the only good thing that came out of it

    • mytimetravellingdog says:

      Also have you seen some of the infrastructure that has been made. It’s already full of cyclists at rush hour that weren’t cycling those routes a few years ago. This comes up quite a lot on cyclist twitter.

      You just need the right routes and whole network connectivity (ie build routes that people travel and make sure they actually up and don’t drop out like most bad cycle infrastructure) and it won’t even take that long for them to fill up.

      Part of the problem in London are councils, particularly tories councils, who are mostly able to scupper cycling schemes that actually get you into the centre of London where people work. Westminster and Wandsworth are Labour now so the opportunities are there for big improvements.

      RBKC is still a massive problem and red routes (and a minister needs to sign off those changes) may solve some of that but really transport and roads long term probably need to be centralised in the mayoral office in a rare case of the UK needing less centralisation.

  8. Jago Hazzard says:

    What I normally do if I need to cross the river is jump in and pretend to drown. Then when the RNLI come, I hijack the lifeboat at gunpoint. It’s great, they’ll take you anywhere.

    • Hetty says:

      I can always trust Jago to make the best comments on other Londoner’s videos 😂

    • ceegnz says:

      Video or it didn’t happen 🙂

    • FARTGHOST says:

      Considering that sewage waste is dumped into the Thames, why would anyone want to jump into the Thames?, especially the part of the Thames between Surrey and Essex, beyond Thanesmeade the Thames is so much cleaner. Imagine drowning in the section of the Thames that is most polluted by sewage?, that is a Hellish way to die, because you will get sewage waste going into your airways.

    • Musa Shah says:

      Lololol 😂

  9. Ididthis Onpulpous says:

    I want to say I live in Rural Arkansas in the U.S. and my general interest in London’s infrastructure was limited in the past, I have to say your series is absolutely fascinating. Your content is always engaging, irreverent, and just well nice. I feel like I could even stomach a cup of tea and call my cookies biscuits on your behalf… Well I mean almost…

  10. GuemSCarlos says:

    As someone from Valencia, having the riverbed turn into a park was such a good idea. Now we have a large green area, great for exercising and generally hanging out in. Also the fact that is in the riverbed makes the park very resilient to the noise from the city, even when sorrounded with heavy traffic.
    Originally the mayor supported it to become a motorway, I’m glad the rest of the city saw how bad of an idea was it and strucked that idea down.

    • Taege e says:

      Not modern, but this same thing happened in Edinburgh in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There was a loch in the centre of the city called the Nor’ Loch which was drained and is now a luxurious, green park (and a train station). Ironically it was only filled with water in the mid 1400s, before it was just a marsh.

    • sware says:

      @kakyoin donut321 diverted a few miles before entering the city and emptying into the sea south of it, but now it hardly has water but a questionable-looking stream although very useful for future floods

    • kakyoin donut321 says:

      where did the water go?

    • willygepe says:

      @Andrew Cox just make sure those new cheap bridges are not design by Santiago Calatrava as it happened in Valencia, or they will indeed being more expensive (fun fact, tallest structure in Valencia is a bridge crossing the dried river)

    • Andrew Cox says:

      Maybe we can divert some of it and keep a smaller Thames with lots of cheap bridges.

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