"Tower Bridge" Tower Bridge Tip by Blatherwick
Tower Bridge, London: 308 reviews and 521 photos
The Tower Bridge is one of the great landmarks of London. In the second half of the nineteenth century increased commercial development in the East End of London led to a requirement for a new river crossing downstream of London Bridge. However, a traditional bridge could not be built because it would cut off access to the port facilities situated at that time in the Pool of London, between London Bridge and the Tower of London.
A design devised for a bascule bridge with two towers built on piers. The central span between the towers is split into two equal bascules or leaves, which can be raised to an angle of 83 degrees to allow river traffic to pass through. The bascules can be raised in under one minute. The original hydraulic raising mechanism was powered by pressurised water stored in six accumulators. Water was pumped into the accumulators by steam engines. Although the bridge is raised today electrically, the original steam engines are preserved as a visitor attraction.
The high-level walkways between the towers gained a reputation as a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets and were closed in 1910. They have now been reopened as part of the Tower Bridge Experience, a museum/historical exhibition mostly housed in the bridge's twin towers. The exhibition also includes photos, holograms and a film detailing the build, along with access to the original steam engines that once powered the bridge bascules, housed in a building close to the south end of the bridge.
Address: Tower Bridge Road, EC3/SE1
Directions: Tower Hill or London Bridge tubes
Phone: 0 20 7626 3065
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