Tower Bridge – a landmark in London
This bridge is truly a unique landmark in London, because such a structure cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It consists of two towers, made in the Gothic style, connected by movable spans and pedestrian galleries, allowing you to freely cross to the other side of the river, even when the bridge is divorced.
History of Tower Bridge
By the way, this is the only drawbridge on the Thames and the first bridge in the direction from the North Sea. Another interesting fact is that Tower Bridge in London is located closest to the surface of the Thames. The appearance of this masterpiece of architecture is also of interest. Once the bridge was dark brown, but in 1977, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II, it was symbolically painted in the national colors of Britain — red, white, and blue. At the same time, the red color can be seen only being near the bridge. In the evening, when the blue lights come on, the bridge turns into a particularly beautiful, fabulous place.
It is not difficult to guess that Tower Bridge received its name precisely because of its location. One of the walls of the famous London Prison almost rests on the bridge from the north, and the route passing through the bridge goes around the east wall of the Tower.
Tower Bridge Architecture
Tower Bridge in London was built relatively recently – in the second half of the 19th century. At that time, the East End area of London grew rapidly, the population was experiencing difficulties with crossing to the other side of the Thames. Initially, it was planned to launch subway trains under the riverbed, even a tunnel was dug, which for some time was used as a pedestrian crossing. When it became clear that the tunnel was still inconvenient, the city authorities organized a competition for the construction of a bridge.
A special commission was organized to consider the options for the future structure. Project Gorace Jones, who made the bridge the way we see it today, was chosen from more than fifty options. Interestingly, the Commandant of the Tower, who held this post at the time, spoke against the construction of a bridge in this place. Nevertheless, the decision to erect the structure was nevertheless taken, however, with one condition – the bridge must be in harmony with the architecture of the Tower itself. Construction began in 1886 and lasted about 8 years. The grand opening, which took place in 1894, was led by Edward of Wales and his wife Alexandra.
Tower Bridge – a landmark in London
Specifications only enshrine the status of London’s sights on Tower Bridge. The adjustable design is driven by a powerful hydraulic mechanism. It should be noted that the power was enough to dilute the bridge in just a few minutes, while the trusses became at an angle of 86 degrees to the water, that is, almost vertically!
Initially, the entire system functioned only through coal and steam. More than twenty tons of coal were burned in furnaces in order to maintain the life of this magnificent structure from the inside! To unload this amount of fuel served as a crane. Water directly from the Thames filled the huge reservoirs under pressure, from which then it was fed to a turning mechanism, setting it in motion. He also provided elevators in the gallery and crane. Brilliant engineering solution for the time! However, technology does not stand still. In 1976, the bridge was equipped with electric motors and oil hydraulics.
Pedestrian galleries of the Tower Bridge
As mentioned above, galleries were planned in order to ensure uninterrupted movement of pedestrians even when the bridge was raised. The height of the galleries – 45 meters above the water surface. Just imagine what a strong impression this engineering miracle made on the people of that time! In order to quickly deliver the human flow upstairs, the towers of the bridge were equipped with elevators that could accommodate up to 40 people, by the way. One of them worked only on the ascent, the other on the descent.
Also in the towers were spiral staircases. As you know, in 1910, the gallery, which became a place of accumulation of thieves and prostitutes, had to be closed due to the large number of crimes. They have been available again since 1982 only. Now the pedestrian galleries serve as observation platforms, because from such a height a really beautiful view of the capital of England opens up. In addition, they have an official museum dedicated to Tower Bridge. In it you can explore the photos, which captures the process of building a bridge. In addition, the general public presented the mechanisms in the past to ensure the functionality of this truly amazing structure.