Official Name: Tower Bridge
Location/Address: Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP, United Kingdom
Date of Opening: 30 June 1894
Architect: Sir Horace Jones and Sir John Wolfe Barry
Architectural Style: Neo-Gothic, Victorian Architecture
Number of Visitors per Year: Approximately 750,000 visitors every year (pre-pandemic figures)
Function: Movable bascule and suspension bridge, as well as a historical landmark and visitor attraction.
The bridge features two towers, both 65 meters high, built on piers that were sunk into the riverbed. The central span has been split into two equal bascules. The term 'bascule' comes from the French word for 'seesaw'. These bascules are operated by hydraulic power, to raise to their maximum angle of 86 degrees to let river traffic through.
Today, the bascules are still operated by hydraulic power, but since 1976 they have been driven by oil and electricity rather than steam. You can find the original pumping engines, accumulators and boilers are on display within Tower Bridge’s Engine Rooms.
The two side-spans on this 240 meter long bridge are suspension bridges, each 82 meters long. The walkways are located about 42 meters above the River Thames.
The Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones, the man behind Billingsgate, Smithfield, and Leadenhall Markets. The Tower Bridge was one of the last buildings in London to have been created in the Neo-Gothic style, or the Revival Gothic style, which had been popular all through the mid-18th century to the 1930s. This style was adopted because Queen Victoria was opposed to having a bridge built so close to the Tower of London and the aesthetics of the Neo-Gothic style would allow the bridge to assimilate to its surroundings. The Neo-Gothic style is usually characterized by pointed arches, turrets, and towers, all of which can be observed on Tower Bridge.
There were challenges involved in bringing together the architectural style with the then modern Victorian technology. But, the architects were able to blend these elements, such as the chimney that stands among the lampposts on the North Tower, in a way that the aesthetics were not compromised for the functionality.
Start your trip to Tower Bridge by making your way through a grand Victorian staircase or fully accessible lift, to the North Tower. Take a trip down memory lane as you are transported back to the nineteenth century. Here, you will be able to learn about the fascinating history of Tower Bridge, with the help of interactive displays.
The glass floor on the tower bridge was installed in 1982 when it was reopened for pedestrians. From 42 meters over the River Thames and 33.5 meters above road level, this permanent feature provides visitors with a magnificent birds-eye view of London life. You may look down to find the famed red London buses and pedestrians speeding across the Bridge as river barges pass beneath it.
The Tower Bridge is located at a great vantage point. Visitors can go up to the walkways connecting the two towers and enjoy breathtaking views of the city. It is placed about 42 meters above the river Thames. If you happen to be on the walkway when the bridge is open, you can get a great view of the river and vessels underneath. You can also see the Tower of London, City Hall, the Shard, HMS Belfast from the Tower bridge.
Original Victorian steam engines, coal-fired boilers, drivetrains, and accumulators are on show at the Engine Rooms of the Tower Bridge, with interactive displays and information panels explaining how they work. You can learn about the force of steam and the innovative hydraulic system that lifted Tower Bridge's 1,000-tonne bascules at a moment's notice until the 1970s.
The northwest tower of the bridge houses the exhibition entrance. Visitors who take the lift to the top of the tower are treated to a century-old film of the bridge opening in 1904, as well as views of Victorian London at the time of the bridge's construction. The exhibition gives you all the information you need to know about this iconic structure.
The South Tower is the last leg on your tour of Tower Bridge. You can descend from the walkways using a similar Victorian staircase or lift, as you used on the other side. You will be able to view plaques that commemorate the workers of the bridge. Here, you will find the Engine Rooms, engaging films, and information panels about the technology and the workers who kept this landmark running.
Tower Bridge is a famous drawbridge located in London, England. It's an iconic symbol of the city and is known for its unique design and stunning architecture.
Construction of Tower Bridge began in 1886 and was completed in 1894. It took approximately 8 years to build this remarkable landmark.
Tower Bridge is named after the nearby Tower of London, which it is in close proximity to. The name reflects its historic and strategic location.
Tower Bridge serves both as a crossing for pedestrians and vehicles and as a movable bridge for ships and boats to pass through the River Thames. Its bascules can be raised to allow tall vessels to navigate beneath it.
Tower Bridge has a unique bascule mechanism. The two halves of the bridge (bascules) are raised using hydraulic power, allowing ships to pass through. This is a rare feature among modern bridges.
Tower Bridge offers spectacular views of London from its high-level walkways, a fascinating Engine Room with historic machinery, and the opportunity to see the bridge in action during a lift.
Yes, visitors can explore the Tower Bridge Exhibition, which includes access to the walkways and the Engine Room. You can learn about its history and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
No, Tower Bridge is not the same as London Bridge. They are two distinct bridges in London. Tower Bridge is known for its distinctive appearance, while London Bridge is more understated in design.
Yes, Tower Bridge often hosts special exhibitions and events. Check their official website for the latest information on upcoming events, workshops, and exhibitions.