17 Apr: Let’s Buy London Bridge
Oil tycoon Robert P. McCulloch purchased London Bridge for $2,460,000 on 17th April, 1968. The Victorian structure, which had been sinking into the River Thames at a rate of one inch every eight years, was then dismantled stone by stone and shipped to the USA, where it now bestrides Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
The wheeze was the work of advertising executive-turned-London councilor Ivan Luckin, who convinced his colleagues that it might be possible to sell the bridge to pay for the costs of building a new one, and set about a marketing blitz including a press conference in New York in which he invoked the crossing’s illustrious Roman history.
In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly revisit the gaudy launch ceremony; debunk the myth that McCulloch thought he was buying Tower Bridge instead; and reveal that buying the bridge wasn’t even this eccentric entrepreneur’s wackiest idea…
• ‘How London Bridge Ended Up In Arizona’ (HISTORY, 2016): https://www.history.com/news/how-london-bridge-ended-up-in-arizona
• Inside Arizona’s London Bridge (BBC, 2018):
• ‘London Bridge in America – The Tall Story of a Transatlantic Crossing, By Travis Elborough’ (Jonathan Cape, 2013):