You can enjoy a superb view of the River Thames from this famous Victorian bridge, Tower Bridge in London, which is a combined bascule and suspension bridge which crosses the River Thames. Not to be confused with London Bridge, the next bridge upstream, Tower Bridge is near to the Tower of London, from where it gets its name, and has become one of the most iconic symbols of London.
The glass walkways of the footbridges which were installed in 2014 are definitely worth looking out for and if you would like to view this magnificent bridge from the comfort of your own home, then there is a live webcam that gives a HD view of Tower Bridge 24 hours a day.
20 Facts About Tower Bridge
- Spanning across the River Thames, Tower Bridge connects the two London boroughs; Tower Hamlets and Southward.
- More than 40000 people use Tower Bridge daily, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
- Tower Bridge takes it's name from the nearby Tower of London which is closely located on one side of the bridge, which also influenced the final design for the bridge.
- There were more than fifty designs submitted during a contest held to select the best design for the bridge however in 1884, Sir Horace Jones, a city architect who was also one of the judges had his design approved.
- Tower Bridge is 244 meters long and each tower is 65 meters high.
- Tower Bridge was built within eight years, between 1886 and 1894 and the design was criticised at the time!
- More than 70000 tonnes of concrete were sunk to the bed of the River Thames to support the bridge and around 432 workers helped with it's construction.
- When it's at high tide, the pedestrian walkways are over 40 meters above the river.
- The high-level walkways, which were designed for the public to cross the bridge when it was raised, were closed down in 1910 due to lack of use as they became a haunt for prostitutes and pick-pockets, but were reopened in 1982 with an exhibition and an admission fee.
- They bascules are raised more than 1000 times a year but you have to give 24 hours notice if you need them raised for your ship to pass through.
- If you would like to watch the bascules of Tower Bridge being raised, you can check up on the Bridge lift times on the official Tower Bridge website.
- It takes five minutes to raise each bascule of the bridge's central span, at a maximum angle of 86 degrees, to enable large ships to pass.
- The bascules of the bridge weigh over 1000 tonnes each.
- There is a weight limit of 18 tonnes for vehicles using the bridge.
- The total cost of construction at the time Tower Bridge was built was £1,184,000.
- Around 31,000,000 bricks were used, along with 2 million rivets and 22,000 litres of paint to complete the bridge.
- Tower Bridge used to be painted brown until it was painted red, white and blue in 1977 to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee.
- The Chinese city of Suzhou boasts it's own version of Tower Bridge, with four towers and a cafe inside selling English-style coffee!
- In 1912, a pilot named Frank McClean had to fly between the bascules and the high-level walkways in his Short biplane, in an emergency to avoid an accident.
- In 1952, a bus driver by the name of Albert Gunter had to accelerate and leap his Number 78 bus from one bascule to the other as the bridge began to rise!