Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Love Padlocks

On a recent outing I came across love padlocks on a bridge and I wondered how this trend started......

Porthill Bridge, Shrewsbury

Bridges all over the world from the Rialto Bridge in Venice to Pont des Arts in Paris and local bridges such as the one I encountered in Shrewsbury are becoming decorated in this new trend.  I have seen the padlocks for sale as special items all over the web. A cute idea, one which is quirky and appealed to first....but now I am not so sure.

The craze can perhaps be traced back to a book, I Want You by Frederico Moccia, Italian of course and a romantic book where a young couple attach a love lock to the Milvian Bridge in Rome. Thus the spark was created with amorous young Italians and became a growing novelty across Europe and beyond.

Gorgeous bridges are being covered in them and sometimes causing railings to collapse, beautiful landmarks like the Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin looking untidy in my opinion, damaging the metal work.

So a love lock is basically a small padlock engraved with the lovers initials, fastened to the bridge and the key tossed into the water. Unbreakable love. Until the council have to come along with bolt cutters, wasting time and money to clean it all up. You can read all about Dublin's assessment of the issue and solutions here.

The issue is compounded when locks are attached to locks and these build up into huge bunches, bridge paintwork gets damaged, rusting increases and it becomes an expensive unsightly mess.
Love Locks Paris, Shutterstock

But love tokens have always been exchanged or let free to do their magic over time. Courtship rituals and methods of wooing change over the eras but have they got better or worse? I think I'd prefer the past......:

The Welsh carved beautiful little love spoons as tokens as their affection. 

The Victorian ladies with their fanning techniques spoke a courtship language - fanning quickly, game on. Fan on the left cheek is a knock back. 

Love tokens - I have a passion for seeing what mud larkers find in the River Thames. I absolutely want to spend an afternoon with the larkers but one day, one day....  Many coins and tokens have been found in the mud bringing forth emotions from the original thrower. Did they obtain the objection of their affections or were their hearts also sifted and churned around and lay deep in a muddiness as the token was too? You can see some of these engraved coins here

The good old love letter. I have the letters that my Grandad who was sadly killed before I was born, sent to my Nan whilst he was at sea during WWII. Precious pieces of yellowing paper written with such care and he even wrote a poem. True love. 

The modern era, well what do you think? Probably a text message and not quite the same. Of course the love lock craze but I hope that moves onto something else soon.


Anca said...

I never thought of the damage they can cause. I liked them and even considered to place one on a special occasion, like our anniversary. I changed my mind considering the issues they rise.

Ness said...

I saw some in Shoreditch, East London last year but they weren't on a bridge but an ugly wire fence. I can quite understand on historical buildings and structures why they shouldn't be put on but that fence needed a bit of jazzing up!

Happy Homebird said...

Yeah I think they are quite cool when on something like the wire fence. One of the ideas they had is to have them in areas that need brightening up as an art piece.

Happy Homebird said...

Some places are setting up alternative areas to put them, like having special metal trees for them - that would be quite cool.

Katie Bedlow said...

Great post!! I love the other historical examples of love tokens too, slightly more my type of gesture! I will keep an eye out for more examples in the UK as to be honest I've only really noticed them in Paris!

Katie x

angela said...

I always thought what a sweet gesture this was until I read about the damage it can cause.

lisa prince said...

ive seen this befor and toldmy husband when he eventually takes me to let us visit so we can add ours

Erica Price said...

It's a lovely idea for the right place. I don't like the idea of them on historic bridges, but on a wire fence, why not?

Jen Walshaw said...

I too read that they are destroying the bridges that they are attached too. these things are cool when they are underground, but once they become mainstream they are so passe!

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