Tower Bridge is a symbol of London, recognized around the world as an emblem of the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
Standing over the River Thames, the bridge connects the districts of Tower Hamlets and Southwark.
History of Tower Bridge
Built in 1894, Tower Bridge was designed by architect Horace Jones and engineer John Wolfe Barry. It took eight years and over 430 workers to construct. The bridge officially opened to the public on June 30th, 1894.
The construction was necessary due to the growing need for a crossing point across the Thames for both pedestrians and vehicles. Before the bridge’s construction, the only way to cross the river was by ferry or by crossing one of the nearby bridges.
The bridge is also notable for its engineering feats. For example, its hydraulic system uses steam engines to operate the bascule.
When the bridge is raised, the hydraulic pumps fill large accumulators with water, which then power the bascule’s movement. The process takes just five minutes, and the bascule can be raised to a maximum angle of 86 degrees.
Tower Bridge stands out from other bridges in London due to its distinctive design, which incorporates two towers and a movable section, known as a bascule.
The bascule can be raised to allow larger vessels to pass through, providing access to the busy port of London. The bridge’s two towers are connected by high-level walkways, which provide an incredible panoramic view of the city.
Over the years, Tower Bridge has been an important landmark in London’s history. During World War II, the bridge’s bascule was raised over 1,000 times to allow ships to pass through, despite the risk of bombs and enemy fire.
The bridge has also been used in several films and TV shows, including James Bond’s “Skyfall” and the Sherlock Holmes movie “A Game of Shadows.”
Today, Tower Bridge is a popular tourist attraction, with over 40,000 visitors crossing the bridge each day. The bridge offers tours of its engine room, where you can see the steam engines and hydraulic system in action.
You can also walk across the high-level walkways, which offer breathtaking views of the river and the city.