United Kingdom travel - Tower Bridge view from the North Bank of the River Thames. London, UK Tours - vacation travel photos

Tower Bridge connects the banks of the Thames just below the London Bridge

It is the most recognizable of London bridges and is a masterpiece of engineering. The need to build a Tower Bridge arose from the fact that the existing bridges at that time could not cope with the ever-increasing load.

The Thames is the legendary river of Great Britain. It was above it that the unique and absolutely dissimilar bridges, which became the decoration of the city, were located. In total, there are 30 bridges across London in the center of the city with the famous Tower Bridge, as well as the Millennium Bridge, Chelsea Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Vauxhall, Lambeth Bridge, London Bridge and Westminster Bridge.

Two tall towers immediately attract attention and make this bridge so recognizable. In fact, they are not entirely stone, as it may seem at first glance: the internal metal frame is lined with stone blocks so that the bridge is combined in architectural style with the Tower. Initially, it was planned to use cheaper bricks when decorating the towers, but then the construction commission preferred aesthetics of economy.

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United Kingdom travel - Tower Bridge view from the North Bank of the River Thames. London, UK Tours - vacation travel photos

Tower Bridge, probably the most famous drawbridge in the world, has been performing its functions for more than a hundred years, surpassing even the most optimistic expectations

The London government signed an act allowing the construction of a bridge to begin in 1885. Work began in April 1886 with the laying of the foundation by the Prince of Wales, heir to King Edward VII. The end of construction was scheduled for 1889, but due to the arising difficulties, the Parliament extended the deadline twice. Finally, on July 30, 1894, the bridge was opened.

The bridge is controlled like a ship: it has its own captain and crew of sailors, who beat off the "flasks" and stand on watch, like on a warship. Initially, hydraulic lifts were driven by a steam engine. She ran a huge pumping engines, with which the swing doors of the bridge were raised and lowered. Despite the complexity of the system, it took a little over a minute for the doors of the bridge to occupy their maximum angle of ascent - 86 degrees. The steam bridge lifting mechanism of the Victorian era served well until 1976. At present, the doors of the bridge are raised and lowered with the help of electricity, and the bridge itself has become a kind of acting museum. Vintage pump engines, batteries and steam boilers became part of its exposure. Visitors to the museum can get acquainted with modern mechanisms that control the bridge.

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