History of Tower Bridge
Tower bridge was completed and opened in the year 1894. It was opened by Edward
7th when he was Prince of Wales. It took 8 years in it's construction, using
5 major contractors and over 400 labourers. When it was completed and as it
stands still today, it is one of London's most famous landmarks, its designers,
John Wolfe Barry and Sir Horace Jones can be proud of a splendid piece of engineering.
During it's building, two piers were sunk into the river bed to support the weight of the bridge. A massive 11,000 tons of steel used then for the walkways and towers. A layer of Cornish granite
and Portland stone were used as a covering, to protect the steelwork and to make it look nicer to the eye.
Still in use today the bridge is still opened for river traffic many times in a week. It is said bridge carries 1,900 vehicles per hour between 7am and 10am during London rush hour. 140 feet above the Thames you can look down and around the tower and see the original steam engines used to lift the huge bridge until 1976.
Historic Dates worthy of note
- 1910 - the high-level walkways were closed down due to lack of use.
- 1912 - Frank McClean flew between the bascules and the high-level walkways in an emergency. Quite a spectacle for onlookers and the bi-plane pilot.
- 1952 - a London bus leapt between the opening bascules to avoid plunging into
the river as the bridge opened with the bus still on it.
- 1977 - for the Queen's Silver Jubilee Tower Bridge was painted red, white and blue.
Further information on Tower Bridge