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50 years later, London Bridge gets a BBC News documentary

Robert McCulloch is shown near the London Bridge, still under construction, in this photo used as the title image in the new BBC documentary “The Bridge that Crossed an Ocean.” The documentary aired in England on Sunday. (Courtesy photo)

Robert McCulloch is shown near the London Bridge, still under construction, in this photo used as the title image in the new BBC documentary “The Bridge that Crossed an Ocean.” The documentary aired in England on Sunday. (Courtesy photo)

LAKE HAVASU CITY – A BBC News documentary aims to put to rest any rumors that Robert McCulloch bought the wrong London Bridge. The documentary, “The Bridge that Crossed an Ocean,” aired Sunday in England. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of the London Bridge’s famous move from London to Lake Havasu City.

McCulloch famously purchased the bridge for $2.5 million and had it moved, stone by stone, and rebuilt over the Colorado River in the small town he founded a few years earlier. The project took three years, starting in 1968 and finishing in 1971.

The documentary is the result of months of planning by BBC producer Lauren Potts, who spent about a week in June talking with Havasu pioneers and collecting historic photos and archived publications, including the Lake Havasu City Herald, a predecessor to Today’s News-Herald. The documentary acknowledges the persistent rumor that McCulloch and his business partner, CV Wood, meant to buy the more dramatic Tower Bridge when they purchased the London Bridge in the 1960s. Producer Lauren Potts, however, made it a point to quickly dispel that notion, quoting grandson Michael McCulloch as the last word on the matter.

“I know for a fact they knew exactly which bridge they were going to buy,” Michael McCulloch says in the documentary and its accompanying article. “Do you think anyone in their right mind would look at Tower Bridge and think they could take it apart and bring it here?”

McCulloch goes on to say his grandfather and Wood felt that “by allowing the rumor to perpetuate, it gave them continued publicity, so they let it go.”

The documentary talks with a handful of longtime Havasu residents, including Rick Kingsbury, Norma Grzesiowski, Linda Binder, Evie Cistaro, Betty Gunnarsson, Joe Hunnicutt, Bobbi Holmes, Joni Echelberger, and Early West.

The video is not immediately available for viewing by U.S. residents, but the article may be read at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_bridge_that_crossed_an_ocean