The Rich History of Tower Bridge in London


Along with Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St Pauls Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge tops the UK’s list of iconic architectural structures that make up London’s stunning skyline.

 

While Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most famous bridges, used by over 40,000 people on a daily basis, very few are aware of the rich history behind this combined bascule and suspension bridge in London which crosses the River Thames, connecting Tower Bridge Approach, formerly known as Iron Gate, on the north bank of the river, with Tower Bridge Road, previously known as Horsleydown Lane, on the south.

London Bridge is falling down, or maybe not

While not the first bridge to span the River Thames, Tower Bridge is the most familiar and is often erroneously referred to as London Bridge. When in fact the real London Bridge was located just about a mile to the west of where Tower Bridge was constructed. Throughout the centuries, a number of bridges have been constructed on the site of the actual London Bridge which makes the famous nursery rhyme "London Bridge is falling down" spring to mind.

Construction and Design

Tower Bridge was designed by Horace Jones, the City Architect, in collaboration with John Wolfe Barry. The construction work was completed in 1894, but the bridge was open for public use on 30 June 1894. It took over fifty designs and eight years to find a satisfactory design, along with the work of five major contractors and the labour of 432 construction workers to complete the bridge.


The total length of Tower Bridge is 244 m (800 ft), while its longest span is 61 m (200 ft). A massive 11,000 tons of steel was used to construct the framework for Towers and Walkways. Then Cornish granite and Portland stone was added to the bridge’s exterior to prevent the modern structure from clashing with the nearby Tower of London and other historic architecture. As part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977, Tower Bridge was painted red, white and blue. Originally it was painted a mid greenish-blue colour.

During its original construction, the bascules of Tower Bridge were initially powered by energy created from steam. In 1976, the steam-powered pumping engines were replaced by ones powered by electricity and oil.

Tower Bridge is the only bridge on the Thames that can be raised and lowered to allow ships to pass.

The Tower Bridge Exhibition

The high-level walkways of the bridge were originally designed to enable pedestrians to cross the bridge even when it was raised. However, due to lack of use. As a result, these passages were closed in 1910, but reopened to the public in 1982 as a museum that houses the Tower Bridge Exhibition, where the original pumping engines, accumulators and boilers of the bridge can be seen. The current Tower Bridge Exhibition opened in 2002, which features the Walkway views and history of the Bridge. Twenty-five years of welcoming visitors to the Tower Bridge Exhibition was celebrated back in 2007.

Tower Bridge as a Party Venue

Within Tower Bridge's towers and the walkways above are several event spaces with spectacular views that make Tower Bridge one of London’s most popular party venues. These have been available to hire for parties and receptions since 1994 and offer mesmerizing views of St Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf, Maritime Greenwich and The London Eye.

London Tower Bridge Souvenirs

Anyone who has taken a stroll by Tower Bridge during a visit to capital would consider taking a souvenir featuring this magnificent structure home with them. Reminisce and rekindle memories of the time you had in the city everytime you see your Tower Bridge gift from London. Choose from a stunning range of Tower Bridge memorabilia and souvenirs including pencil sharpeners, paperweights, clocks and models, key chains and fridge magnets.

Colour Changing Light Up Tower Bridge Laser Art Crystal
Colour Changing Light Up Tower Bridge Laser Art CrystalA novel idea capture the splendour of Tower Bridge with this intricately designed laser art crystal with built in colour ...
Gold Brass Tower Bridge Clock
Gold Brass Tower Bridge ClockThis gold metal Tower Bridge clock is a truly stunning souvenir from the city of London Packed in a souveniration box to ...
Large Sterling Silver Tower Bridge Charm
Large Sterling Silver Tower Bridge CharmA lady will never forget about her trip to the city whenever she wears this fabulous sterling silver England charm ...
London Keyring with Tower Bridge
London Keyring with Tower BridgeThese acrylic keyrings from London with a photo of Tower Bridge on them make a cost effective solution for when you have ...
Metal Tower Bridge Clock
Metal Tower Bridge ClockThis splendid metallic finish London Tower Bridge clock would make a fantastic addition to any mantelpiece desk or shelf
Pewter Metal Magnet with Tower Bridge
Pewter Metal Magnet with Tower BridgeThis embossed metal pewter metal fridge magnet will really stand out beautifully crafted featuring a golden Tower ...
Painted Tower Bridge Clock
Painted Tower Bridge ClockWe love the look of this painted Tower Bridge clock it would most definitely make a fantastic idea and great addition to ...
Tower Bridge Fridge Magnet
Tower Bridge Fridge MagnetThis tin Plate Fridge Magnet featuring a daytime image of the Tower Bridge one of Londons most famous sights
Tower Bridge Laser Art Mini Crystal
Tower Bridge Laser Art Mini CrystalAttractive and modern mini crystal laser cut and elegantly engraved with a intricate Tower Bridge design Beautiful ...
London Tower Bridge Badge
London Tower Bridge BadgeThese button badges featuring Tower Bridge are ideal for adding to party bags and make great souvenirs for school children
London Tower Bridge Stone Model
London Tower Bridge Stone ModelAdd the splendour of the city of London to your own mantelpiece or model collection with this decorous miniature London ...
Marble London Tower Bridge Clock Souvenir
Marble London Tower Bridge Clock SouvenirThis marble Tower Bridge clock would make fantastic idea and great addition to any mantelpiece
Metal Keyring with Tower Bridge & Big Ben Charms
Metal Keyring with Tower Bridge & Big Ben CharmsTake care of your keys with this high quality silver Metal key chain with Big Ben Tower Bridge Union Jack charms A ...
Silver Plated Tower Bridge Charm
Silver Plated Tower Bridge CharmThis fun funky Silver Plated Tower Bridge Charm would make a great treat for any lady who loves England If you have been ...
Sterling Silver Tower Bridge Charm
Sterling Silver Tower Bridge CharmA sterling silver England charm featuring Tower Bridge If you have been to this amazing city then why not add this charm ...
Large Tower Bridge Snowstorm Globe
Large Tower Bridge Snowstorm GlobeA snowstorm featuring a model of Tower Bridge inside a glass globe with falling snow effect Set on resin base with design ...
Tower Bridge Metal Lapel Pin Badge
Tower Bridge Metal Lapel Pin BadgeThis metal Pin Badge featuring Tower Bridge is a suitable idea to give as a souvenir from London one of the most visited ...
Resin Tower Bridge Snowstorm Globe
Resin Tower Bridge Snowstorm GlobeA snow globe featuring a model of Tower Bridge inside a glass globe with falling snow effect Set on resin base with ...
Tower Bridge Teaspoon Souvenir
Tower Bridge Teaspoon SouvenirThis decorative metal teaspoon with its superb enamelled Tower Bridge design would make a splendid souvenir from London ...
Chocolate Tower Bridge T-Shirt
Chocolate Tower Bridge T-ShirtHigh quality chocolate brown t shirt featuring Tower Bridge Available in 4 different sizes Material 100 Cotton Packed in ...
Tower Bridge Tin with 25 English Breakfast Teabags
Tower Bridge Tin with 25 English Breakfast TeabagsThis specially designed tea caddy displaying the classic view of Tower Bridge in the summer sun contains 25 bags of the ...
Tower Bridge Pencil Sharpener Souvenir
Tower Bridge Pencil Sharpener SouvenirEveryone will know you have been to England if you keep this stunning die cast metal Tower Bridge pencil sharpener on ...
Tower Bridge Crystal & Colour Changing Light Stand
Tower Bridge Crystal & Colour Changing Light StandA novel idea capture the splendour of Tower Bridge with this intricately designed laser engraved crystal with a colour ...
Tower Bridge Playing Cards
Tower Bridge Playing CardsPlaying cards printed with a colourful illustration of the iconic Tower Bridge in London These attractive cards make ...
Tower Bridge Photo Frame
Tower Bridge Photo FrameA fabulous keepsake from the city This photo frame features an image of Tower Bridge and will hold a picture sized 35 x 5 ...
Tower Bridge Magnifier Bookmark
Tower Bridge Magnifier BookmarkNever lose your page or have trouble with small print with this nifty Tower Bridge Magnifier Bookmark just the thing for ...
Picture Magnet with Tower Bridge & the River Thames
Picture Magnet with Tower Bridge & the River ThamesA souvenir picture magnet from London featuring Tower Bridge with a vivid purple night sky
Magnet with Tower Bridge
Magnet with Tower BridgeAn acrylic magnet with Tower Bridge one of Londons most historical bridges Rekindle fond memories of the capital whenever ...
Paperweight with Tower Bridge
Paperweight with Tower BridgeAttractive and modern glass paperweight laser cut with intricate Tower Bridge design Packed in a presentation box making ...
Tower Bridge Notepad
Tower Bridge NotepadA fabulous souvenir notepad from the capital featuring an image of Tower Bridge it would make a nice memento from London
Tower Bridge Scroll Magnet
Tower Bridge Scroll MagnetThis large sized polyresin Scroll shaped magnet features a realistic embossed and painted image of Tower Bridge
Keyring with Tower Bridge at Sunset
Keyring with Tower Bridge at SunsetA plastic key ring that shows a picture of the sun setting over the Tower Bridge Also has London written underneath in ...

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