Tower Bridge London is the most sophisticated bascule and suspension bridge in London built during the late 19th century. The eastern side of the city of London was developing at a fast rate during the industrial revolution years and the requirement for an alternative route was realised. The City Cooperation selected a design in 1884 for a futuristic bridge whose central span could be raised using steam powered engines and in 1886 in presence of the Prince of Wales the construction of the bridge kicked off successfully.
The bridge was made operational by 1896 after a relentless and intense labour of workers for a duration of 8 years. Not only is the Tower Bridge renowned for architecture but also for its Neo-Gothic architecture and lifting which gives it a complementary outlook amidst all other ancient renaissance styled architecture landmarks present all along the river Thames. Since its inauguration the bridge has become an integral part of the history of London and its inhabitants. The walkways of the bridge were reopened in 1982 after being closed in 1910 due to lack of usage, to welcome guests at its exhibition called The Tower Bridge Experience. Since then, Tower Bridge has emerged as one of the most visited destinations in London.
Just as the Tower Bridge is interesting, so is its history! The need for a bridge was realised when the eastern part of London was developing at its full bloom during the 19th century. The construction of the bridge soon started in 1886 after selection of a suitable design under the auspices of the Prince of Wales. Since its completion in 1896, the bridge has been an integral part of the culture of the city of London as well as that of the United Kingdom.
A need for the Tower Bridge of the city of London was realised when the eastern part of London started developing in the 19th century. As the city turned busier on both sides of the river Thames, a challenge to build an efficient transportation system that doesn’t affect traffic and connect the two sides of the city had arised. The hunt for the design of a bridge as per the requirements of the City of London Corporation could only be materialised in 1884 when Sir Horace Jones turned up with the chosen design for the Tower Bridge. Even though the design of the building was finalised in 1884, the history of Tower Bridge London can be traced back to 1876 when the Subway Committee by the City of London Corporation was founded to handle the work of finding a suitable architectural design and initiate its engineering.
After finalisation of the design, the foundation stone of the bridge was laid in 1886 by the Prince of Wales. This marvellous beauty and one of the biggest landmarks of the city is hard earned with the efforts of tireless labour of 432 labourers building the tower gradually over a duration of 8 years. The construction began with constructing a solid foundation for the two large piers deep in the riverbed. This bridge is the perfect example of architecture marvel involving engineering and art, making it the most sophisticated suspension bridge in the world. The highlight of the bridge is its central span that splits into two bascules to give way to a ship. The beauty and history of tower bridge London can also be realised with its iconic Vistorian Gothic style giving the bridge a strikingly enchanting outlook alongside an unusually charming architectural design.
When the bridge was finally ready in 1894, the Prince and Princess of Wales were invited over to inaugurate it who gave green flag for its operation. They were accompanied by others from the government like H.H. Asquith, the then Home Secretary. As soon as the bridge was made functional its bascules were lifted up to give way to a tugboat going over to the Parliament to help vessels in distress. Tower Bridge then replaced The Tower Subway and gradually the majority shifted to using it as it was the easiest and quickest way to cross the Thames even for pedestrians.
As the drastic events of world wars in the 20th century unrolled, we can find their traces in the history of Tower Bridge London. Between 1940 to 1942, the tower bridge had become an efficient connecting route towards the Port of London, thus even garnered the enemy's eye. During the second world war a few attacks on the Bridge were made to cause dysfunctionality, and to avoid any mishap, the managerial authorities at the Bridge installed a third engine. Later, the damages done to the bridge were repaired and its operationality was modernised; the third engine was then donated to the Forncett Industrial Steam Museum.
If you think that the credits to make the history of Tower bridge London memorable have been rightly acquired by its Neo-Gothic, strikingly beautiful Victorian architecture and its bascules, well you’re forgetting an important component then. This third important highlight of the bridge is the science and technology, fueling it, to make the functioning of the bridge efficient. Initially, the energy produced by steam was used to lift the bascules, it was stored in large size six accumulators to secure a power source for the functionality of the bridge. The accumulators in which energy was stored were connected to the driving engines which would lift the central span once energy would fuel them. Hydraulics are still the major energy source, though experiments with oil and electricity have been made as well since 1976.
The tower bridge has completed 136 years since the time its foundation stone was laid in 1886.
The whole construction of this historical landmark took over 8 years of relentless labour of over 432 workers per day, to become one of the most sophisticated bridges of the world.
The Tower Bridge is special due to its strikingly beautiful neo-Gothic architecture which makes it one of the most sophisticated suspension bridges in the world. The tower bridge history makes it ever more special, beholding the marks of important global events like World War II and the London Olympics of 2012.
The best time to visit Tower Bridge London would be during the evening hours. Though you might find it crowded, the views of the setting sun and its left-over crimson over the mighty Thames would make your visit worthwhile. Stay at the Bridge and witness the whole city being taken over by a ton of thousands of glittering lights, enjoy the cold wind and sip a warm coffee as you get lost in the majestic skyline.
The Westminster, London, United Kingdom located bridge crosses the RIver Thames near the Tower of London. Tower Hill is situated at the north side and towards the south of the Bridge you can spot Bermondsey, an area in Southwark.