Tower bridge in London: description, history, features and interesting facts


2018-03-17 17:56:04




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Bridge tower bridge is one of the symbols of London and Britain as a whole on a par with Buckingham Palace and a Ferris wheel “London”. Age of construction exceeded one hundred years. However, the bridge is still beautiful, lively and interesting to the public, and coped with their initial function.

tower bridge to English

The location of the bridge

Tower bridge London (tower bridge in English) is often confused with London, which is located slightly upstream. Outwardly, the two designs are completely different, but due to their location are confusion. In fact, at the mention of the first bridge quite a bit to think over his name, and all will become clear. Tower it is named due to the fact that is close to standing on the North Bank of the Thames the tower of London. In the photo below you can see the London bridge.

tower bridge

Coordinates: 51°30′20″ with. W. 0°04′30″ s. D. the tower bridge has an excellent location. From the huge Windows of his gallery offers a picturesque view of the city with a recognizable skyscraper, nicknamed the "cucumber" and the building of The Shard. After a glance at the East side, you can see the Greenwich Observatory and St Catherine Docks.

Tower bridge: description

The Bridge is floating and hanging at the same time. Its length is 244 m, and the maximum width (the Central span) reaches 61 m. the Middle part of the bridge is divided into two lifting wings, each of which weighs over a thousand tons. For the passage of vessels coming up the Thames, they can be raised at an angle of 83 degrees. At intermediate supports of the bridge are installed tower height of 65 m. At the top level they connect the two tracks. They are designed to counteract horizontal forces of tension that create the suspended sections of the bridge tower bridge, on land. At the base of each tower is a revolving mechanisms.


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Current color scheme (blue-white) was adopted in 2010, prior To that, she was unchanged from 1977, when in honor of the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II design painted in three colors: blue, red and white.

tower bridge description

The bridge Deck is opened to traffic, and pedestrians. However, the twin towers, the tracks on the upper level and the engine room of the Victorian era are part of the exhibition tower bridge. Visit these sites for possible tickets.


The Second half of the 19th century was marked by the development and the rise of the East End of London. Pedestrian and equestrian traffic has increased significantly, in this regard, there is a question of the organization of crossing the Thames East of London bridge. In 1870, under the river a tunnel was built the tower subway. As the subway he served a relatively short period and eventually came to be used by pedestrians only. Now it is a water main. Thus, the tunnel did not solve the problem, so in 1876, a special Committee under sir A. D. Altman, which was to find a way of crossing the river.

The Committee announced a competition, which attracted more than 50 projects. The winner was announced in 1884, then made the decision about the construction of the bridge tower bridge (English - Tower Bridge). The construction was sanctioned by act of Parliament in 1885 He determined the dimensions of the bridge as well as style design – Gothic.

Bridge Construction

The construction of the bridge, later named tower, was started in 1886 and lasted for eight years. During this time, participation in the process has taken five major contractors: D. Jackson, Baron Armstrong, William Webster, H. Bartlett and W. Arora. The construction site was used by 432 people. The total cost of the bridge at the time amounted to 1 184 thousand pounds. The construction took more than 11 thousand tons of steel.

bridge tower bridge

The Official opening of the bridge tower bridge on 30 June 1894 the ceremony was attended by the Prince of Wales (later king Edward VII) with his wife Alexandra of Denmark.

In the first years of its work, the sidewalks between the towers of the bridge has gained a nasty reputation of shelter for pickpockets and prostitutes. Since they are rarely used in simple pedestrians, they were closed in 1910, once Again the gallery was opened only in 1982, they are Now used as a viewing platform and Museum.

Hydraulic system of the bridge

Tower bridge, as mentioned above, has a Central span, divided into two lifting wings. They rise to the angle of 83 degrees. Thanks to the counterweights that minimize effort, the bridge can be divorced in just one minute. The span is driven by a hydraulic system. It was originally a water power operating pressure 50 bar. Water is pumped to two steam engines having a total capacity of 360 liters, the system was developed by Hamilton Owen Randall.

feedback about the school tower bridge school

A Hydraulic mechanism and a gas lighting system was installed by William Sugg &Co Ltd, widely known in Westminster. Lights glowed from the original open gas burners inside them. Later the system was upgraded to modern light bulbs.

The Hydraulic system has been fully upgraded only in 1974. The only component that is still in use today, are the ultimate gear. They are controlled by a modern hydraulic motor with gears, where used oil and not water. The original mechanisms were partially saved. Now they are not used and are open to the public, forming the basis of the Museum, which has a bridge in London tower bridge.

Modernization of the bridge

In 1974, work began on the replacement of outdated original mechanism to drive the electro-hydraulic system. In 2000, for remote control of lifting and lowering supports have been installed modern computer system. However, in reality it proved to be unreliable, and as a result the bridge was stuck in the open or closed position, while in 2005 has not been replaced by its sensors.

In 2008-2012, the bridge has undergone redecoration or as it is called in the press, “facelifts”. The procedure took four years and cost 4 million pounds. The existing paint on the structure was faded to bare metal. To what remains doesn't fall into the Thames, each section of the bridge was covered with forests and a plastic film. The design was painted in white and blue. In addition, the bridge acquired a new lighting design.

Bridge Control

bridge in London tower bridge to English

In order to effectively manage bridge and regulate river traffic, was applied a number of rules and signals. Daytime control was carried out with the help of the red semaphore, which is set on a small cabin on both sides of the bridge piers. Night used colored lights: two red – the passage is closed, and two green – the bridge is open. In foggy weather the lights were accompanied by a Gong.

Passing through the bridge, the court also had to display certain signals. It was a black ball with a diameter less than 0.61 m, mounted at a height accessible to the eye. Night in the same place lit up with red lights. In foggy weather required repeated signals of the steam whistle of the ship.

Part of the signalling equipment has been preserved and at present, it is represented in the Museum.

It is Interesting that bridge for over a hundred years, it is a lively place thanks to the numerous tourists and retains a large flow of traffic. Every day it crosses more than 40 thousand people (pedestrians, cyclists, motorists). In order to preserve the integrity of the design, there is a limit of speed of travel over the bridge – up to 32 km/h and by the weight of the transport – not more than 18 tons.

In former times the bridge is opened daily and more than once. Now to pass under it, you must notify the property at least 24 hours. The opening time will be published on the official website. Travel free of charge.

The name of the bridge and its appearance is familiar around the world, so are often used for advertising purposes. For example, many educational institutions are called Tower Bridge. In particular, the Moscow commercial institution with profound studying of English language. In order to have an idea about the place, read reviews about the school "tower bridge School" left her students and their parents.

Public Reaction to the bridge

bridge in London tower bridge

It is Noteworthy that the Tower bridge, to imagine without which modern London is simply impossible, in the early 20th century is quite criticized. It was called a defect bezdelnitsa, fraud and pretension. British artist and designer Frank Brangwyn said that a more absurd structure has never been built over the strategically important rivers.

As time Went on, and changed the public perception of the bridge. Now it is recognized as the landmark of the capital of the state. Historian and expert on architecture Dan Cruickshank chose it as one of the four objects, mentioned in his film «the Best buildings of Britain”.


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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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