Why there’s a bit of England (literally) in New York

Live in New York and fancy stepping foot on a piece of England? Head down to Waterside Plaza on the East River in New York and there you’ll literally be standing on what was once part of Britain. Bricks and sod from the city of Bristol, to be exact.

Tom Scott explains:

What’s even more wonderful – that’s Cary Grant in the above picture, who was born in 1904 in Bristol. He’s pictured rededicating Bristol Basin at the Waterside Plaza in 1974. The plaque reads:

“Beneath this East River Drive of the City of New York lie stones, bricks and rubble from the bombed City of Bristol in England…Brought here in ballast from overseas, these fragments that once were homes shall testify while men love freedom to the resolution and fortitude of the people of Britain. They saw their homes struck down without warning. It was not their walls but their valor that kept them free…And broad-based under all is planted England’s oaken-hearted mood, as rich in fortitude as e’er went worldward from the island wall.“

So yes, in World War 2, the American supply ships went to Bristol fully loaded – and when they came back they had to have a similar weight to return for ballast. So they took great chunks of bombed out Bristol back with them. A little bit of South West England was left in the form of buildings and the ground – some 3,500 miles away in America.

A nice little story indeed.

Blimey! is your daily dose of British news and features for anglophiles everywhere! This article was carefully written by Tim Holt, a British blogger, photographer and actor based back in the UK after many years of living in America. Forever torn between two magnificent slices of sod.
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