An image that truly symbolizes London, the Tower Bridge is one of the best-known and recognized attractions of the city. It is located at a short distance from the Tower of London and offers stunning views of London and the River Thames.
The Tower Bridge – A Symbol of London
One of London’s most enduring images, the Tower Bridge is a suspension and bascule (or moveable) bridge across the Thames. In the second half of the 19th century, as London grew and so did its commercial development, a requirement for a new river bridge arose. A design submitted by the City Architect Sir Horace Jones was selected and construction of the bridge started in 1886. The Tower Bridge was completed eight years (and five contractors later) and was officially opened on June 30, 1894. The bridge comprises two towers tied together by walkways. The central span of the bridge is split into bascules that open to allow river traffic to pass. The side spans are suspension bridges. The Tower Bridge is sometimes confused with the London Bridge, which in fact is the next bridge while going upstream the Thames.
Tower Bridge Opening – A Must-See
When the Tower Bridge was constructed in the late 19th century, the river traffic was quite heavy. Though the river traffic is much reduced today, the bridge still opens several times a year. The Tower Bridge opening is an event worth witnessing. A 24 hours’ notice is required to be given for the opening of the bridge and there is no charge for vessels. River traffic still takes precedence over road traffic. When it was built, the Tower Bridge opening was operated by hydraulics, using steam to power the pumping engines. Today, the pumping engines are powered by oil and electricity rather than steam.
Tower Bridge Road
The Tower Bridge Road is a part of the London Inner Ring Road, which encircles central London, and is located in the London borough of Southwark. The road connects to the Tower Bridge and crosses the river Thames. It was formerly known as Bermondsey New Road. The road has several shops, restaurants, pubs and hotels. The Bermondsey Square Antiques Market (officially known as the New Caledonian Market) is held every Friday between 4 a.m. and 1 p.m. and one can find secondhand furniture, jewelry and china. The Tower Bridge Experience is also located here and comprises a visit to the bridge’s walkways as well as an insight into the working of the bridge.