CONTEXT

August 2, 2010

Here to there

Half Moon replica.

Such a sad story, the saga of Henry Hudson.  He was doing pretty well right up until August 2, 1610, when he rounded a corner and sailed into a huge body of water that might be the way to Asia, which is what he was looking for.

He’d found that nice river in New York and large parts of Canada.  But the Half Moon got iced in after reaching what is now known as Hudson Bay and by spring his crew wanted to go home.  In June, they put Henry and his son and half a dozen crew in a little boat, raised sail and took off for England.

Henry Hudson was never seen again.  His end, like his beginning, is shrouded in mystery.  No one knows where he was born or even in what year.  His history begins with his life as a cabin boy and ends in the frozen wastes of Canada. Too bad.

But he is remembered in the bay, the river, a town in New York state and all the offshoots thereof, like the Hudson Bay Company and the Henry Hudson parkway and lots of others.  Odd to think that in and around New York he is probably mentioned in one way or another dozens of times a day.

* * *

Something called the Tower Subway opened in London on this date in 1870, but it was not what you imagine.  The real London subway, the “Tube,” was called an underground railway and came later.

Illustrated London News, 1870

Tower Subway ran under the Thames river – from the Tower of London to Tooley Street – and got the working class of east London to the other side of the river to their jobs.  It was initially created with a cable car in it, but since that only held 12 people, it wasn’t exactly cost effective.  So they made it a pedestrian tunnel and charged a half-penny toll.

Instantly it was a huge success and well-used, at least until Tower Bridge opened about 20 years later.

Now – and as a borderline claustrophobe I shudder just thinking about this – the Tower Subway, 1400 feet long, had a diameter of only 7 feet.

And still, 20,000 people a week used it.

Tower Bridge, London

Thank god they got Tower Bridge built.  After that, hardly anyone used the subway and soon it closed.  Tower Bridge, btw, is what most of us think of when we hear  ‘London Bridge.’

London Bridge was 600 years old by the 19th century so they built a new one, which opened in 1831.  Over a century later they replaced it with the current one, which opened in 1973.  The newest one is even less attractive than the 19th century one, which can’t  hold a candle to Tower Bridge.

London Bridge, Arizona

If you doubt my word, go to Lake Havasu  City, AZ, and check it out – that’s where it is now and it’s the second most popular tourist attraction in Arizona after the Grand Canyon.

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3 Comments »

  1. awesome post – very interesting – i had no idea about hudson isn’t that something!!

    Comment by ninachat — August 2, 2010 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

  2. you did it again! astonishing stories that actually happened that I knew nothing about made current and vitally alive. thank you

    Comment by GALYA TARMU — August 2, 2010 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  3. Let’s hear it for henri hudson

    Comment by avery zia — August 3, 2010 @ 8:22 pm | Reply


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