I ponti di Londra

Il cuore pulsante di Londra? I suoi ponti, che da secoli permettono alle persone di attraversare il Tamigi e ancora oggi lasciano a bocca aperta i turisti. E quest’anno il più famoso di tutti, Tower Bridge, compie 120 anni. Un’occasione unica per visitare i meccanismi sotterranei del ponte levatoio. Leggi l’intervista di Speak Up ad Adam Blackwell e pratica il tuo listening cliccando sul link in fondo all’articolo!

On 30th June London’s Tower Bridge will celebrate its 120th birthday. As the bridge’s exhibition manager Adam Blackwell explains, it’s a major London landmark, like Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus:

Adam Blackwell

(Standard British/mild Yorkshire accent)

It’s a symbol of Britain, it’s a symbol of London. It’s the gateway1 to London, so it almost guards London and the river. But also it’s just its simplicity. It was built to be simple, and it does what it was designed to do: it lets river traffic go up and down to the centre of London, and lets people cross the river. People gather2 at those pedestrian gates, wait for a bridge lift, and see it going up and down. And even today, after it’s been beamed3 across the world, and the website and the Internet, and you can go on YouTube and watch it, people still stand there, and they’re in silence, the whole bridge when it moves, there might be a slight squeak4, but it’s very quiet, and to hear tourists and Londoners stand at the bottom, wait for this really exciting thing to happen, it’s a really majestic thing to see.


And the bridge, which opens and closes several times a day, is a major feat of Victorian engineering:

Adam Blackwell

People really enjoy the engine rooms, and I’d urge any visitor to come here not to miss out5. We do lose some visitors from the walkways to the engine rooms because they’re in a different part of the building. And that’s a real shame6 for those people because the engine rooms are the heartbeat7 of the bridge; it’s where all the story starts for how it goes up and down. They are magnificent specimens8 of our industrial past, our industrial heritage9, and also they still move, so you can really get a sense of what it would have been like down there. You can touch everything, you can take photos (of) everything. We’re not like traditional museum, where we tell you can’t do things. You can take a picture of every element of the bridge, and you can touch it and really get hands on to it. So I’d really want to encourage everybody to get down to the engine rooms and make the most of their visit. It’s included in every ticket we sell, so don’t miss it!


As Adam Blackwell says, visitors to London love Tower Bridge. According to urban legend, an American businessman called Robert McCulloch tried to buy it in the 1960s, but he bought London Bridge by mistake. Today the old London Bridge connects an island on the Colorado River with Lake Havasu City in Arizona. We shall never know whether McCulloch really thought he was buying Tower Bridge as he died in 1977, but, still, it’s a great story!

Adam Blackwell

He was trying to buy Tower Bridge, but he called it “London Bridge” and so they sold him London Bridge, and so he got London Bridge! And it’s now in Arizona, a rather ugly, boring bridge, but actually, because of the story,

I think it’s one of top 10 visited bridges in the world. So it’s worked for him10 in the end!

1    gateway: porta d’accesso
2    gather: si radunano
3    beamed: trasmesso
4    a slight squeak: un leggero cigolìo
5    I’d urge any visitor to come here not to miss out: raccomanderei a ogni visitatore che viene qui di non perderlo
6    shame: peccato
7    heartbeat: cuore pulsante
8    specimens: vestigia
9    heritage: tradizione
10  it’s worked for him: gli è andata bene

Per ascoltare l’audio dell'articolo vai sul sito di Speak Up e pratica l’accento dello Yorkshire (link: http://www.speakuponline.it/articolo/the-bridges-of-london)


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