Tower Bridge over the River Thames, London

Tower Bridge over the River Thames, London

Tower Bridge is among the most known and most photographed sites in London. The drawbridge over the River Thames is a regular and favourite stop for visitors to London. It is located next to the Tower, the former royal seat, and in the neighbourhood of the City, the London financial district.

 

The suggestions for Tower Bridge to link the East of London were first considered in the middle of the 19th century in connection with the industrial boom in this part of London. In 1870 a public competition to build a bridge over the River Thames was announced and took 14 years to complete. Finally, in 1884, a design by the architect Horace Jones was chosen as the winning project. The construction started in 1886.

 

The construction of Tower Bridge took 8 years, more than 400 workers contributed, and over 70,000 tons of concrete and 11,000 tons of steel were used. After Jones's death in 1887, the project was led by the architect Sir John Wolfe-Barry, the project's head engineer till then. The final design in the Victorian Gothic style was created by Sir John Wolfe-Barry. The bridge was inaugurated by the future King Edward VII and his wife Queen Alexandra 8 years later, in 1894.

 

Tower Bridge has an ingenious draw mechanism that opens the middle parts of the bridge frame to allow big vessels to pass under the bridge. The bridge has two elevated footbridges that were used to walk over the bridge when the bridge was open. These footbridges were closed in 1910 due to their unflattering reputation of being a haven for prostitutes and pickpockets. Nowadays, the original hydraulic draw mechanism and both the footbridges are open again, and included in the historical tour of Tower Bridge.

 

The Tower Bridge draw mechanism has been used till today, and the bridge opens around 100 times a year. Cars always give way to boats. It is said that this rule caused a diplomatic incident in 1997 when the bridge unexpectedly opened and divided Bill Clinton's presidential convoy.

25.5.2009 | Prague guide | Cities |
Tower Bridge over the River Thames, London
Tower Bridge over the River Thames, London
Tower Bridge over the River Thames, London
Tower Bridge over the River Thames, London
Tower Bridge over the River Thames, London
Tower Bridge over the River Thames, London
Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

User login