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Nine Shocking Facts About Tower Bridge in London

Author Albert is a Kenyan from Tharaka Nithi County currently(2022) a University student.

Tower bridge in London

Tower bridge in London

Tower bridge is one of England's landmark. It was built between 1886 and 1894 which was engineered by John Wolf Barry. The tower bridge is constructed across River Thames of London.

There are quite shocking facts since the bridge started to be constructed until when. I will handle them one by one starting from the first to the last.


1. Over 50 designs were submitted to be considered

In 1877, the special committee launched a competition for the public to submit their designs for construction of Tower bridge. They were were required to show how one would build the bridge without interruption of the water activities.

Shockingly, non of the designs were considered. It was until 1884 a popular architect Sir Horace Jones and engineer Sir John Wolf Barry's designs were approved.

2. The original architect only saw the foundations of the bridge

An architect Horace Jones surprisingly died after a foundation of the bridge was set.

Horicd was born in 1819in Bucklebury near Mansion House in City of London. He was a president of Royal Institute of British Architect and was knighted on 30th July, 1886.

In 1887, just a year after he had started the construction of the bridge, Horice faced death.

Picture showing Sir Horace Jones

Picture showing Sir Horace Jones

3. The bridge took eight years to construct

It was indeed a huge work done. Over 432 workers were hired who worked hard to make it successful.

You can imagine how it was huge task for all those people working for eight years.

4. The tower was officially opened by Prince and Princess

After a long struggle and hardwork to make sure this bridge existed, it was later opened by the Royal family. On 30th June, 1894, the Prince and Princess of Wales officially opened the bridge with huge celebrations taking place.

5. The tower bridge cost one million pounds to construct

This is large amount of money. It is basically 1.3 million dollars. In Kenyan shillings, it is almost 131 million Kenyan shillings and rememberthis was in 18thcentury. You might think that it was public money but that isn't an idea. It was funded and managed by the city of London corporation.

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photo showing Tower bridge across River Thames

photo showing Tower bridge across River Thames

5. The moving parts known as bascules

Bascule is a French name meaning see-saw. These bascules are operated by hydraulic power but since 1976 have been driven by oil and electricity.

photo showing inside the bridge as bascules open

photo showing inside the bridge as bascules open

photo showing bascules opening for big ships to pass

photo showing bascules opening for big ships to pass

These bascules opens to allow bigger boats to pass under the bridge. Each bascule moves around an off-centre pivot while balanced. When it was completed, it was the largest and wonderful bascule bridge in the world.

7. The Queen flew through Tower bridge on a helicopter

During the opening of ceremony of 2012 Olympics, the Queen flew through Tower bridge inside a helicopter. This was very shocking and surprised many people.

Photo showing two Queen helicopters passing through the tower bridge.

Photo showing two Queen helicopters passing through the tower bridge.

This was not the first time to happen since it happened again in 1951 with Frank miller's plane. He flew a one engine plane through the tower bridge. He later blamed his 13-year-old son, saying that he had dared him to do it for 35 shillings. This made him to pay a fine of 100 pounds since it is offence.

8. A double decker bus once jumped over Tower bridge

The double decker bus made a jump on the bus from one bascule to another when he realized it was opening. It was later in 1952 and his name was Albert Gunter.

When he realized that the bridge was opening, he accelerated and successfully managed to close to the other side. This occasion surprised many and I hope as am surprised, you are also asking questions on how he managed.

Photo showing how double decker managed to jump

Photo showing how double decker managed to jump

9. The glass walkway on the upper section of tower bridge

On the upper side of the bridge, you walk on glass made floor which enables you to have clear look on of vehicles on passing the bridge. On that section, you also enjoy the quite and excellent looking of the London city.

photo showing the glass floor on upper section of the bridge

photo showing the glass floor on upper section of the bridge

To pass through here, you have to buy the ticket for the tower bridge. Here you will experience good as you go inside the towers and walkways as you learn more about the history of the bridge.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Author Albert

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