Tower Bridge’s Curiosities

Tower Bridge is definitely the most beautiful bridge that crosses the River Thames but… Why and when was it built?

London Bridge is close to Tower Bridge and a lot people get confused by it, making them think that The Tower Bridge and the London Bridge are the same thing.

Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge. It crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London (The famous castle gives its name to the bridge) and has become an iconic symbol of London. It was built by five major England contractors in the end of the XIX century. They were Sir John Jackson, Baron Armstrong, William Webster, Sir H.H. Bartlett and Sir William Arrol & Co. They employed a total of 432 people for making it.

View from the riverside of Tower Bridge being raised

View from the riverside of Tower Bridge being raised (Photos by London & Partners)

In 1910 the high-level Walkways, which were designed so that the public could still cross the bridge when it was raised, were closed down due to lack of use. Actually, about 5 million of people visit it.

In 1912 there was an airplane’s emergency so Frank McClean, the plane’s pilot, to avoid destroying the bridge (and himself too) had to fly between the bascules and the high-level walkways in his Short biplane, to avoid an accident.

In 1942, during the Second World War and as a precaution against the existing engines being damaged by enemy action, a third engine was installed in 1942.

In 1952 a London bus driven by Albert Gunton had to leap from one bascule to the other because the bridge began to rise when the bus still was on it.

In 1977, the bridge was painted red, white and blue to celebrate the Queen Silver’s Jubilee. Before that, the bridge was chocolate brown.

Finally, in 1982, the bridge was opened to the public. It was the first time since 1910, when it was closed.

The Tower Bridge history will not stop here and will have more chapters added by #LondonPeople.

You can visit it any day. For more information: http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/