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Tower Bridge with the bridge in the raised position to allow a boat to pass .
The raised bascule can be seen through the arch.
Tower Bridge Description
- The most recognisable & best known bridge in London & possibly the world.
- Tower Bridge was and still is a miracle of engendering.
- , taking 8 years to build in the reign of Queen Victoria.
- Opened by The Prince & Princess off Wales in 1894
Tower Bridge Construction
- The bridge is made of iron & held together with over 2 million rivets
- The beautiful stonework that gives the bridge it's majestic appearance is only a cladding to hide the towers ironworks. The stone facade gives Tower Bridge it's great and much older looking appearance.
- The bridge was constructed as a double bascule raising drawbridge type. in the central section. On either side are 2 suspension bridges that go from the tall central towers located in the river and the smaller land based towers.
- The 2 high level walkways served as not only as pedestrian walkways but also strengthening beams to take the weight of the suspension wrought iron chains
Tower Bridge Opening
- The roadway between the towers can be raised similar to 2 giant drawbridges, 1 on each tower. The drawbridges are called 'bascules', the french word for see saw and weigh 1100-tonne each
- Massive counterweights on the land side of the see saw descend into the towers bases as the bridge raises.
- The Tower Bridge is opened around 1000 times a year
- Ships passing underneath do not pay for the bridge opening. This goes back to the days when the River Thames was the lifeblood of London and it's main highway. A modern day concession is that ships have to give 24 hours notice
- It is a fabulous sight seeing the bridge open so check out Opening times of the Bridge
- The raising and lowering was achieved by the use of hydraulic pressure. This pressure was maintained by steam engines used as pumps. The engine room is open to visitors. Now the hydraulic pressure is maintained by electric motors
- The bridge was once raised when a London 78 bus was on it. The driver gunned the accelerator and successfully jumped the gap, movie stunt style. Luckily only minor injuries were received by the passengers.
- The 2 High Level Walkways are 42 metres above the river
- Spectacular views are available from the walkways. There are viewing areas without glass to take better photographs
- The walkways allowed pedestrians to cross the river when the bridge was up, but were under used & closed for this purpose.
- The walkways are now open to visitors on a Bridge tour, see below. With fabulous views up and down the river.
- The walkways can also be hired for special events
- The walkways are enclosed in glass with special glassless sections for taking photographs.
Tower Bridge Tour Information & Price
This self guided Experience tour allows visitors to
- Tour the Victorian Engine Room
- Take the lift to the high level walkways
- Duration - around 1.5 hours
- Opening Times
April - September 10:00 - 18:30 (last admission 17:30)
October - March All times 30 minutes earlier
Adult Price Guide: £8.00
This Attraction can be visited Free with the London Pass*
Tower Bridge Engineering Tour Information & Price
There are also less frequent Engineering Tours that visit additional parts of the bridge:
- Bridge Control Room
- The massive Bascule Chambers below the level of the river bed
- The Machinery Room that houses the hydraulic machinery that powers the lifting of the Bridge
- The tour is limited to 12 visitors on Saturday & Sunday usually around 4:30 pm.
- Booking is almost essential because the tours soon sell out
Adult Price Guide: £30.00
Tower Bridge Location
Bridges the River Thames next to The Tower of London
Nearest Tube Station:
Tower Hill station. Located on The north side of The Tower of London just over the main road (use pedestrian underpass). District and Circle lines
Nearest Bus Routes:
Tower Bridge: 15, 42, 78,100, RV1.
See Location of Tower Bridge on our City of London Attraction Map
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