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London Bridge, Arizona
The current London Bridge in London is not the original – it was only opened in 1973. The previous, 19th century incarnation was deemed unsuitable for the traffic going over it, and bought by American developer Robert McCullough. He shipped it – in pieces – to the US, then attached it to his new mall in Lake Havasu City. He then fixed the minor problem of having no water for it to go over by dredging out a canal connected to the lake…
Cooks' Cottage, Melbourne
The cottage standing proudly in Melbourne's Fitzroy Gardens was originally built in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire. But businessman Sir Russell Grimswade decided to spend a fortune on buying it, deconstructing it and shipping it to Australia where it was reassembled brick by brick in 1934. Back in the 18th century, Captain James Cook's parents lived there. But, even though it is sometimes called Captain Cook's Cottage, there's no evidence that Cook himself did.
The Wright Brothers' bike shop, Michigan
The Wright Brothers put together the world's first successful plane in their bicycle workshop in Dayton, Ohio. But in 1937, car magnate Henry Ford decided he wanted to have this slice of history and put it on display. So he bought the workshop, and moved it brick-by-brick to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Just outside Detroit, Greenfield Village is attached to the gigantic Henry Ford Museum. See thehenryford.org
The Logan County Courthouse, Michigan
Greenfield Village also plays host to several other snaffled and moved buildings – which include the home of dictionary founder Noah Webster from Connecticut and a windmill from Cape Cod. Perhaps the most significant, though, is the courthouse from Logan Country, Illinois, where a young Abraham Lincoln practiced law.
Marble Arch, London
When John Nash designed London's Marble Arch in 1827, he meant it to be the ceremonial gateway to Buckingham Palace. And, until 1851, it was. But then Buckingham Palace got expanded and it was kinda in the way, so it was moved to the north-eastern corner of Hyde Park. Now, thanks to some 1960s road-widening, it stands somewhat ludicrously on its own in the middle of a traffic island.
The Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt
The construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s meant the ancient 13th century BC Nubian rock temples at Abu Simbel were about to be consumed by the encroaching Lake Nasser. But extraordinarily expensive, internationally backed project to cut them up and move them kicked into gear – and now they stand a couple of hundred metres back, on safer, higher ground.
The Grange, New York
Back when much of Manhattan was countryside, Alexander Hamilton – yes, the one the musical is based on – had The Grange built in 1802. In what is now Harlem, the house was due to be demolished to make way for the street grid system, but a local church bought it and had it moved a couple of blocks. Then, in the 21st century and now part of the National Park system, it was moved again, to a much more befitting spot in Nicholas Park, where it opened as a monument in 2011. See nps.gov/hagr
St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church, Miami
This 12th century monastery cloister was originally sited in Sacramenia, central Spain, but then newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst saw it and rather liked it. Hearst – no stranger to nicking and shipping treasures from Europe – bought the cloister and outbuildings in 1925 and had them moved to the States. Hearst then ran into financial difficulties, and the pieces of the buildings spent a quarter of a century in a warehouse, before being sold and reconstructed in Florida. It's now a hotspot for weddings… See spanishmonastery.com
The Fu Gang Building, China
Holding the Guinness World Record for the largest ever building moved in one piece, the 34m tall Fu Gang building in Wuzhou, Guangxi Province, was shifted just 35 metres in 2004. The distance may not be huge, but it took 11 days, using a series of ultra-powerful jacks. It has set a precedent in China too – more recently, the six storey red brick Zhengguanghe Building was moved during a neighbourhood revitalisation in Shanghai.
It's one thing moving a building, and quite another moving an entire town. But that's what's happening in Lapland, where Kiruna is being moved 3km to save it from crack and subsidence caused by a nearby iron ore mine. In the most part, buildings are being demolished and replaced – but the decision was taken to save 21 mostly wooden heritage buildings. Those that have been moved so far have essentially been put on the back of a truck and driven down roads which have been closed off to other traffic.