Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge was built to deal with increased traffic in the east end of London during the late 1800s, with the bridge construction lasting from 1886 to 1893. Unlike the other city bridges further upsteam on the River Thames, this bridge had to be designed to allow shipping traffic to pass to the busy Port of London area upstream of the proposed location.

The overall length of the bridge is 800-ft and two distinctive 65-m (213-ft) towers support a 200-ft span between them which can open in the middle and each be tilted upward within a few minutes to let ship traffic pass. The towers also house the equipment needed to raise the ship span and they provide support for the suspension spans which make up the remainder of the bridge. One of the most beautiful bridges in the world with its Victorian Gothic style, the towers have steel skeletons and are covered with granite from Cornwall and limestone trim from Dorset.

Another unique feature of the bridge is an elevated walkway (143-ft above the Thames) which allows unimpeded pedestrian traffic, even when the lower part of the bridge is raised for shipping. However, this upper level soon became an unsavoury hangout for pick-pockets and prostitutes as well as a site of frequent suicides, resulting in it's closure in 1910. It was still closed when I visited in 1979 but soon afterward, the walkway was glassed-in and it was re-opened to pedestrians in 1982. The second photo shows the view toward the Tower of London from the lower level of the bridge.

  • Phone: 0 20 7626 3065
  • Directions: Tower Hill or London Bridge tubes




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