Upholding an ancient law, next month a bale of straw is to be hung from the Millennium Footbridge as a warning to boats on the Thames.

It’s an ancient bylaw of uncertain heritage that if a bridge arch is open to river traffic, but with restricted headroom, then a bundle of straw should be hung from the bridge as a warning.

And, as it happens, next month, contractors working on behalf of the Illuminated River Foundation, who are planning to light up all the bridges, will be conducting work on the Millennium Footbridge, and the headroom of the bridge will be reduced by enough to trigger the ancient law.

The works take place at various times between Monday 4th March 2019 and Saturday 11th May 2019, so look out for the oldest of bylaws enacted on central London’s newest river crossing.

But only during the daytime.

At night the bale of straw is replaced with a light, but sadly it’s an electric one instead of a burning bale of straw.


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  1. Maurice Reed says:

    I love these obscure bye-laws that are still in place.

  2. Andrew Gwilt says:

    I think it’ll be amazing if the Millennium Bridge in London was to light up with LED lights spanning across the River Thames at night. Which will make it more attractive. Since it was built and opened on 10th June 2000. But despite the bad weather can hamper the pedestrian bridge which has been closed for lots of reasons and it once swayed. Which can sway during strong winds. Unless its allowed to sway a little bit which pedestrians don’t really notice when walking on the bridge.

  3. Nige says:

    Its amazing an ancient law should make the Millennium Bridge need to do anything, given its not exactly an ancient bridge. Is it still wobbly?

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