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.
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 management of the Tower of London insisted that the bridge, which crosses the Thames near the castle, should be in keeping with its 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.
He died in 1887, seven years before the work was completed.
The maximum vehicle speed is 20 mph (32 km/h) and the maximum weight is 18 tons.
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 bascules are lifted approximately 800 times a year. When raised, they form an 86-degree angle with the plane of the roadway.
Footbridges for pedestrians are suspended 34 meters above the roadway.
Nowadays, the bridge is lifted by electric devices.
Between 1909 and 1982, the bridge was closed to pedestrian traffic because of the high number of suicide attempts.
The original color of the bridge was beige. Since 2010, the bridge has been painted white and blue.