Tower Bridge is the most famous bridge in London and certainly the most colorful with its Victorian Gothic style.
It is a drawbridge over the River Thames as it passes through London and consists of two beautiful towers connected in its upper part by two footbridges that were designed to counteract the strength of the parts suspended on both sides.
Tickets without queues to Tower Bridge
We should not confuse with the London Bridge, located a little further on and not so close to it. It is located next to the Tower of London (hence its name), famous prison-castle where the Crown Jewels are kept.
Until now you could admire an exhibition showing how the bridge was built and that included the twin towers and the old Victorian machine rooms. But now, a spectacular walkway with glass floor has been added.
Now you can climb the glass bridge of the Bridge Tower, located 42 meters high from the River Thames, and admire from there the movement of cars, pedestrians and boats that happens under your feet. Hallucinatory!
Its construction, which began in 1886 and lasted 8 years, was carried out on two concrete blocks of 70,000 tons each.
These arms are hoisted 1,000 times a year and this requires a 24-hour warning period, since river traffic in London still has priority over the road.
It is a very busy bridge, crossed by more than 40,000 people a day, either in motor vehicles (for which there is a speed limit of 32 kilometers per hour) or on foot.
Who but the Victorians could have designed and constructed such an edifice as Tower Bridge, and one that is as functional today as it was 100 years ago?
And what sort of people in the days of horse-drawn carriages could have built a structure to withstand the punishing nature of 21st century traffic?
Oh and yes, make it so beautiful!
The 'anaraks' among us will know that the structure of Tower Bridge itself is a combined bascule and suspension bridge. The bridge spans the River Thames by the Tower of London, which gives the bridge its name. London has no more iconic symbol than Tower Bridge!
Tower Bridge comprises two towers joined at the upper level by two walkways (which are open to the public) and a central span which raises to allow larger vessels access to the Pool of London, the stretch of water between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. The machinery raising and lowering the bridge is housed in the base of each tower.
The bridge was originally chocolate brown in colour but today glories in the red, white and blue paint applied in 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee .
When Tower Bridge was first planned in the second half of the 19th century, the designers realised that a traditional fixed bridge would cut off shipping access to the busy port facilities in the Pool of London .
Following a competition for the most practical solution, construction of the existing bridge started in 1886 and took 8 years to build.
Two massive piers, containing over 70,000 tons of concrete, were sunk into the Thames' river bed to support the construction and over 11,000 tons of steel provided the framework for the towers and walkways.
The structure was then clad in Cornish granite and Portland stone, both to protect the underlying steelwork and to give the bridge a pleasing appearance. The ornate Victorian Gothic style, giving Tower Bridge its distictive appearance, was intended to harmonise the bridge with the nearby Tower of London.
Having cost £1, 184, 000 to build, Tower Bridge was officially opened on 30 June 1894 .
Interestingly, the design of the bridge was not without its early detractors. One professional commentator stated that the bridge "….represents the vice of tawdriness and pretentiousness, and of falsification of the actual facts of the structure" .
Another wrote that "A more absurd structure than the Tower Bridge was never thrown across a strategic river".
Thank goodness, our fore-fathers who designed and built Tower Bridge decided not to listen. Just what would we have done today with all of those rolls of unused film?
Whatever the time of day, summer, winter, spring and autumn, be it rain or shine, London's visitors flock to Tower Bridge. We stand, we gaze, we wonder.
We smile at the camera and we straddle the gap between the spans, peeking at the dark, moving river below and feel the old bridge shake as the heavy London traffic trundles across.
They built things well, did the Victorians!
But as those strong, gnarled hands poured the concrete and erected the steel and stone, even they couldn't have realised the glorious legacy in Tower Bridge that they were leaving behind for London.
Adults £ 10.00 Children from 5 to 15 years £ 3.90 / Buy tickets here
Also p ou can access free with the London Pass.
Metro: District and Circle lines. Tower Hill Station / Northern and Jubilee Lines. London Bridge Station
April - September 10.00am - 6.00pm; October - March 09.30am - 5.30pm