In line with ye olde traditions, if headroom of an arch on a bridge over the Thames is reduced from its usual limits, but remains open to navigation… then a bale of straw must be hung from the arch to warn the mariners.

As it happens, I received a notice (pdf file) from the Port of London Authority today advising that a couple of arches of Tower Bridge are to be worked on later this month by men working with ropes under the arches.

Time to get a fresh bale of straw.

Technically, the arches will be closed during the daytime to river traffic, but will then be reopened, but restricted overnight. The byelaw requires a bale of straw during the daytime, and a white light at night.

I am presuming that although the works will finish at 6pm, as it will still be daylight, then a bale of straw will be needed (otherwise they wouldn’t have mentioned the byelaw in their port notice).

  • No1 Arch will be closed to navigation between 18th April 2011 and 21st April 2011
  • No3 Arch will be closed to navigation between 26th April 2011 and 30th April 2011

When the upper walkways were being repainted last year, even though they are very high up, because boats were still able to pass under the roadway below, they still had to hang a bale of straw from the middle of the bridge.

Which did look a bit odd.


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One comment
  1. Bill Scott says:


    You have used my picture to illustrate this blog. as a great fan of your site I am honoured!

    Bill (aka BillKatyGemma)

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