Facts about Tower Bridge

14 Tower Bridge facts

London's most famous bridge

Tower Bridge is one of London's iconic landmarks and, along with Big Ben, is the city's most visited attraction. It was built in the 19th century near the Tower of London, from which it takes its name. It is a magnificent example of Victorian engineering. 

After its construction, it became the pride of London and was considered a masterpiece of engineering. It was compared to the Eiffel Tower, which had been built five years earlier. Tower Bridge quickly became an attraction, with its piers offering spectacular views of the Thames and London.

Today it is used by over 40,000 people a day.

Tower Bridge
The construction of Tower Bridge began on June 21, 1886.

The foundation stone was laid by the Prince of Wales, and later King of the United Kingdom - Edward VII.

In the first phase of construction, 70,000 tons of concrete foundations were laid to support the steel skeletons of the two towers. About 11,000 tons of steel were used. Construction took eight years. It was completed in 1894.

The cost of construction was £1.184 million. and 432 workers took part in the construction. On June 30, 1894, Edward VII and his wife attended the official opening.

The bridge was built in the Victorian style.

The management of the Tower of London insisted that the bridge, which crosses the Thames near the castle, should be in keeping with its style.

The project was designed by architect Horace Jones, who created a steel structure clad in stone in the neo-gothic style.

Horace Jones was the City Architect and Surveyor of London, where he was responsible for urban planning and bridges across the Thames. John Wolfe Barry assisted him in the engineering of Tower Bridge.

Horace did not live to see the opening of the bridge.

He died in 1887, seven years before the work was completed.

Tower Bridge is one of five London bridges owned and maintained by Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation.
Some traffic restrictions have been placed on the bridge to protect it from excessive stress.

The maximum vehicle speed is 20 mph (32 km/h) and the maximum weight is 18 tons.

Tower Bridge is often confused with London Bridge, which is about half a mile up the river.
It is a bascule bridge, allowing the passage of ocean-going ships up to about 40.5 meters high.

In the early days of the bridge, ships with tall masts passed under it. In its first month of operation, it was raised 600 times, and now it is raised several times a week.

The width of the bridge is 61 m, the height with the wings raised is 65 m. The length of the tower bridge is 244 m.

The bridge's two lifting bascules are huge. Each weighs 1,000 tons.

The bridge bascules are lifted approximately 800 times a year. When raised, they form an 86-degree angle with the plane of the roadway.

A distinctive feature of the bridge are the two bridge towers, which are connected by two horizontal walkways on the upper level.

Footbridges for pedestrians are suspended 34 meters above the roadway.

The bridge used to be lifted by a steam engine weighing 2,000 tons.

Nowadays, the bridge is lifted by electric devices.

Tower Bridge used to be a popular place for people to commit suicide.

Between 1909 and 1982, the bridge was closed to pedestrian traffic because of the high number of suicide attempts.

The bridge was repainted in blue, white and red to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977.

The original color of the bridge was beige. Since 2010, the bridge has been painted white and blue.

Today, the towers of the bridge house a museum that tells the story of the bridge over the years.
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