Tower Bridge is one of the most characteristic, recognizable bridges in the world. The bridge was completed in 1894, after 8 years of construction work. However, many people do not know why this bridge was built and why it is so different from all other bridges in London.
At the time, London Bridge was the only bridge across the Thames. When London started to grow, more bridges were built. However, these were all west of London Bridge, because the area to the east had become a busy port (Pool of London).
In the 19th century, the east of London became so densely populated that the public increased pressure to build a bridge east of London Bridge. In 1876, the Corporation of London, the body responsible for that part of the Thames, decided that the problem could no longer be ignored. Because the port could not be closed off, the bridge had to be able to be opened to allow shipping to reach the port. The result is the Tower Bridge, a fine example of Victorian craftsmanship.
In the Tower Bridge Exhibition you get a good picture of the history and functioning of the Tower Bridge. On top of the galleries you have a magnificent view of the city. On the other side of the bridge are the steam engine rooms, which are the steam engines that used to drive the Tower Bridge.
Although the Pool of London is no longer an important port, the Tower Bridge still regularly opens. This often happens in the evenings and this is a very beautiful sight. Look on the website or ask for the bridge lifts at the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
You must have seen Tower Bridge up close and don’t forget the steam engine room on the other side of the Thames. Well worth the effort. You can combine this perfectly with the with Tower of London which is rigt nextdoor and houses the crown jewels. St. Katherine’s Dock and the HMS Belfast.