A symbol of eternal love or an act of thoughtless vandalism? The simple act of declaring your love for another by attaching a lock to a bridge dates back around 100 years to a tradition in Serbia.
There, young woman affixed padlocks to a local bridge as a symbol that their love was permanent. It reached western Europe around a decade ago and is now a common sight in major European cities.
The seemingly harmless idea has however caused problems in places such as Paris – particularly at the Pont des Arts – where the sheer number of locks has resulted in damage to prominent bridges.
An online campaign “No Love Locks” has now started to discourage people from the practice because of its negative effects.
Campaigners say historic bridges aren’t feeling the love at all, nor are the citizens of the cities who are “burdened with maintenance costs from a trend that has escalated out of control”.
As part of the Forth Bridges Festival – celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Road Bridge – it was decided that love-locks could be attached to the structure. However, this was carefully controlled and only allowed in a designated section.
For the sum of £15, heart-shaped locks with no keys were given to couples, with £3.46 donated to good causes.
Today, we report that more than £10,000 has been donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at Queensferry – the busiest inshore lifeboat station in Scotland – by Forth Bridge chiefs as a result of the idea.
This sum will go a long way to meet the funding required to keep the vital station operational for 2015 and Feta, the Forth Estuary Transport Authority, should be congratulated for the perfectly managed initiative.
A good example of ensuring that love – however strongly it is felt – doesn’t go overboard.