Friday, May 23, 2008

The amazing telescope that lets you see New York from London's Tower Bridge

London waving: Looking down the Telectroscope at Tower Bridge end

Aliens at City Hall? The London Telectroscope looks like something out of War Of The Worlds

Deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean, forgotten for the best part of a century, lies a tunnel linking London and New York.

It was built on the whim of a Victorian inventor with the aim of linking two great cities and developing the kind of friendship that still exists today.

But bad fortune befell the venture - and the tunnel lay idle ever after.

Until today, that is, when the project was rekindled with a modern twist.

Using a giant "electronic telescope" and state-of-the-art technology, England and America were joined once again when the tunnel entrances were reopened beside Tower Bridge in London and Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

It meant that New Yorkers and Londoners could wave to each other across the sea and begin the kind of mute dialogue that was only a dream all those years ago for eccentric engineering entrepreneur Alexander Stanhope St George (deceased).

Or at least, that's the way the story goes.

What is certain is that now you can indeed stand on the South Bank of the UK end of the 21st century "Telectroscope" - and see someone standing 3,460 miles away across the water.

The Telectroscope uses 6ft screens and a Jules Verne style telescope that gleams with brass and an array of Victorian dials. Participants peer into one end of the screen - and hey presto - they can see anyone standing at the other side.

Much of the first few hours of this morning were taken up by bemused-looking Americans gazing cautiously at the antics of the London transatlantic gazers before realising that it wasn't a set-up, that they weren't being filmed for a candid camera TV stunt, and that it wasn't a terrorist threat.


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