Love locked in - a tale to melt your heart

Love locks on the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, Germany.
Love locks on the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, Germany.

By Dawn Renton

The trend of attaching padlocks to bridges as a way of declaring your love has reached the fair shores of Fife.

‘Love Locks’ as they are known, are inspired by an ancient custom of declaring your love on the lock and throwing the key away so that the lovers can never be parted.

It is thought that the tradition began in Hungary in the early 20th century.

The idea is supposed to be based on an old tale of a young woman who lost her soldier boyfriend to another lady during World War One.

The woman was so distraught by the loss that she used to return to the bridge where they used to meet and attached momentoes of their time together to the bridge.

Young girls then soon started symbolising their love by attaching padlocks to the bridge where the abandoned woman used to meet her lost lover.

And that is apparently the whole point.

They are bound together forever by this padlock, and should it be opened or destroyed, that love would then surely die.

They are not anything new, and are thought to have got more common in the 1980s in New York.

In fact Brooklyn Bridge is covered in these unusual love tokens and a bridge came close to collapsing in Paris due to the weight of the padlocks with some having to be removed.

Although the small romantic in me likes to believe it was the weight of the love that caused the damage.

It is the first time a lock has been found on the Forth Road Bridge though.

A padlock declaring ‘Jim loves Paula’ was found some months ago attached to the railing of the bridge.

The mystery lovers’ token was originally removed but has now been re-attached and will remain there as part of the Forth Bridges Festival which is inviting other couples to announce their love to the world with the launch of the ‘Mark Your Spot’.

It is the first padlock to feature on the bridge’s specially created new panel which is on the parapet of the east footpath right beside the south tower.

The people of Fife and further afield are encouraged to share the love and add their own locks.

It’s proof, I think that there is love out there in the world.

If you ever find yourself getting a bit despondent and weary at the state of the world that we live in, it’s good to think upon the love locks as evidence that love does in fact exist.

As far as I am aware, the thousands upon thousands of love tokens that completely cover the bridges (and a couple of fountains) of over 22 European countries and other structures from all corners of the globe, are all messages of love and kindness and not hate.

Love is expressed on the locks between couples both young and old, family members and friends, new love and lost love.

And it may not be particularly newsworthy like war, terrorism and the hatred that seems to be getting more and more commonplace throughout the world, but it is still there.

Whether it be a small private gesture or big orchestrated public proposals.

If you look hard enough it is around in some form or another.

Perhaps The Troggs had it right all along and ‘Love is all around’ (obviously I am choosing to ignore the Wet Wet Wet version here, the less said about that the better, I think).

Okay, so despite the fact that I love the idea of the Love Locks, I wouldn’t necessarily scale a bridge, regardless of its size to attach a padlock with my declaration of undying love engraved on it with a key or written on it with a permanent marker.

But the idea of spreading that little bit of love throughout the world, can only be a good thing and can help make it a better place to live in.

Now, doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?