London’s Tower Bridge to Honor Churchill 50 Years After Death

London’s Tower Bridge will open on Jan. 30 as the city marks 50 years since the death of Winston Churchill, the prime minister who led Britain to victory in World War II.

The bridge’s giant movable roadways will be raised at 12:45 p.m. local time -- one of only three days of scheduled openings this year -- to allow the Havengore barge, which carried Churchill’s coffin from his funeral in 1965, to recreate its trip up the River Thames.

That journey provided one of the lasting images of the day, as the cranes at Hay’s Wharf dock on the South Bank dipped their booms in turn as the barge passed. The playwright Noel Coward burst into tears when he saw it. The cranes are now gone as part of the regeneration of London’s Docklands.

As well as a wreath-laying in Parliament the same day, the anniversary is also being marked by the creation of a new website covering Churchill’s life.

“One of the great things about being a historian of modern Britain is that you keep encountering Churchill,” David Cannadine, the professor of history at Princeton University who headed the committee coordinating the anniversary events, told reporters in London. “He keeps turning up.”

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