bite-size chunks of London

Millennium Bridge

The London Millennium Footbridge crosses the Thames between St Paul’s Cathedral and Tate Modern. Its architect, Lord Foster, likened the styling to a ‘blade of light’.

The structure exhibited unexpectedly strong oscil­lations when subjected for the first time to heavy usage after it opened in June 2000. The effect was amplified when pedes­trians subcon­sciously (and in some cases delib­erately, after the problem was discovered) responded to the movement by swaying as they walked, a phenomenon known as synchronous lateral excitation. The bridge was closed while £5 million was spent on retro-​​fitting shock-​​absorbing dampers. This successfully eliminated the oscil­lations but has failed to entirely expunge the nickname ‘the wobbly bridge’.

The bridge exhibits an extreme degree of wobbliness in the film Harry Potter and the Half-​​Blood Prince (2009), in which it is attacked by Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters.
London Millennium Footbridge with a view towards St Paul's Cathedral, at dawn

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