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A view of London Bridge in 1831

A view of London Bridge in 1831 
Collage reference: 4454

The London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) Book Group meets monthly to explore a range of London writing, with a remit covering fiction and non-fiction from all periods in London's history. We dust off old classics, explore new writing, make topical choices and use material from the archives to stimulate lively discussion.

May's Read – London Bridge in America by Travis Elborough

In this special LMA Book Group event open to all, author Travis Elborough will join us to discuss his book London Bridge in America: The Tall Story of a Transatlantic Crossing. With a display of film footage and material from the archives, we will explore the City of London’s decision to put London Bridge up for sale in 1967 and its unlikely reconstruction in Arizona.

In 1967 – 50 years ago – The City of London Corporation put London Bridge up for sale. Its purchasers were to be the American McCulloch Oil Corporation with the result that this London landmark was dismantled, shipped across the Atlantic and rebuilt, brick by brick, in a decidedly dry corner of Arizona. Encompassing 2000 years of the capital's history and a most unlikely journey of over 5000 miles, Travis Elborough’s London Bridge in America: The Tall-Story of a Transatlantic Crossing, relates the remarkable true events surrounding one of the oddest incidents in Anglo-American relations.

With a cast that includes Fleet Street shysters, revolutionary radicals, frock-coated industrialists, Disneyland designers, Thames dockers, Guinness Book of Records officials, the odd Lord Mayor, bridge-building priests, gun-toting U.S. sheriffs and an Apache Indian, it is history at its most delightful and curious.

Please note: this month's Book Group will be starting at the earlier than usual time of 5.30pm


Future titles

Free event Book your place

Event guidance

  • The next book group meeting is at 5.30pm on Wednesday 10 April at LMA.
  • The book group is free, but booking is recommended.
  • You can book to attend this event on the Eventbrite website.

Previous titles read by the book group

  • John Gay - Trivia: or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London
  • Adam Foulds - The Quickening Maze
  • Michael Moorcock - Mother London
  • Marie Belloc Lowndes - The Lodger
  • Lao She - Mr Ma and Son
  • H.G. Wells - Ann Veronica
  • Patience Agbabi - Telling Tales
  • Ben Aaronovitch - Rivers of London
  • Monica Ali - Brick Lane
  • Daniel Defoe - Moll Flanders
  • Sukhdev Sandhu - Night Haunts
  • Charles Dickens - Bleak House
  • Evelyn Waugh - Vile Bodies
  • Penelope Fitzgerald - Offshore
  • George Gissing - The Nether World
  • Rachel Lichtenstein - Diamond Street
  • Jack London - The People of the Abyss
  • Pat Barker - Toby's Room
  • Louisa Young - My Dear I Wanted To Tell You
  • John Lanchester - Capital
  • Anthony Trollope - The Way We Live Now
  • Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway
  • Norman Collins - The Lonely Londoners
  • Patrick Hamilton - Hangover Square
  • Peter Ackroyd - Lambs of London
  • Angela Carter - Wise Children
  • James Boswell - London Journal
  • Joesph Conrad - The Secret Agent
  • Daniel Defoe - A Journal of the Plague Year
  • Elizabeth Bowen - The Heat of the Day
  • Iain Sinclair - London Orbital
  • Samuel Richardson - Clarissa
  • Gillian Slovo - Ten Days
  • Wendy Moore - How to Create the Perfect Wife
  • Gillian Tindall - The House by the Thames - and the People who Lived There
  • Claire Tomalin - Samuel Pepys – The Unequalled Self
  • The Diary of Samuel Pepys
  • Jean Rhys – Voyage in the Dark
  • Frances Burney - Evelina
  • George Orwell - 1984
  • Amy Levy - Reuben Sachs
  • Colin MacInnes - Absolute Beginners
  • Nell Dunn - Up the Junction and Poor cow
10 June 2013
Last Modified:
21 April 2017