Monday, October 13, 2008

I guess they didn't have buses in the 15th century

They say that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but evidently that isn't true of buses. Just ask Susan Mirabaud. She is the owner of the 15th Century Bookshop, located in the town of Lewes, in Sussex County, England. Her store's name comes from the fact that it is indeed located in a building dating from the 15th century, a building in which Mirabaud also lives. Five years ago a double-decker bus swerved into her building damaging the roof and the overhang. Then last month, it happened again. As you might imagine, Mirabaud was not happy, and demanded that action be taken; after all, she pointed out, this was not just any 15th century building -- it was the only unaltered 15th century building in town (as a Yank I of course find it hard to imagine living in a town with one 19th century building, not to mention numerous 15th century buildings). After all, Mirabaud reasoned, "there is only so much a 15th century building can take."

Alas, town officials were not sympathetic, claiming there was no practical way to change traffic patterns or put up barriers to assure that Mirabeau and her bookshop would not be damaged by further attacks from rogue buses. As a spokesman for the East Sussex County Council explained, "It would not be possible to put bollards by the shop as the pavement is too narrow. It would force pedestrians to walk into the road which could be dangerous especially for people with buggies and wheelchairs."

More about Mrs. Mirabaud and her vehicular travails can be found here.

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