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Title : The Bridge lift up to let ships through, Tower bridge in london
Description : Tower Bridge
A Grand Statement

Photo credit: Steve Parker via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic statements that London has to offer.

Stretching over the River Thames between the Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark at the East End of the city, Tower Bridge stands as a triumph of the Victorian age.
The grand suspension bridge with its two tall towers and movable bascules has come to symbolize the city's culture and history as well as its wealth, tradition and engineering heritage.

Tower Bridge Facts
432 construction workers were employed in the building of the bridge.
The leaves were originally powered by steam hydraulics.
In 1910 the open high level walk ways were closed to the public due to a lack of use. It was a long way up and the walk ways were seen as a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets.
The bridge cost £1.2 million ($1.8m). In today's money that's £100 million ($150m).
Tower Bridge is raised about 1,000 times a year. River traffic takes precedence over road traffic.
It is crossed by 40,000 people daily.
It is 800 ft in length and and the towers are 213 ft tall.#
Urban legend has it that when American businessman Robert McCulloch brought the original London Bridge to ship back to Lake Havasu City, Arizona in 1968 he thought he was buying Tower Bridge. The story has always been denied.

How The Bridge Works

Photo credit: Stefano Brivio (buggolo)
via Flickr. CC By 2.0
Tower Bridge engine room

The bridge was originally powered by steam, with large pumping engines being used to raise the bascules. The energy was stored in six accumulators.
Since 1976 they have been powered by hydraulic motors and gearing, driven by oil and electricity.

A History Of Tower Bridge

As London grew in the Late 19th century the need arose for a new Thames river crossing in the City of London, downstream from London Bridge. All previous bridges on the Thames had been built to the west of London Bridge but as pressure mounted for a new crossing further east, so the decision was made to build one further downstream.
A traditional low level bridge was not possible as any bridge downstream would have to accommodate the tall ships that would require access to the Pool of London, the thriving docks that made up part of the Port of London.
In 1876 a committee was set up and considered over 50 designs for tunnels and bridges until in 1884 a design by Sir Horace Jones was selected.

Photo credit: Justin Ennis (Averain) via Flickr. CC BY 2.0
Crossing the Bridge
Work started in 1886 and the bridge was finally opened eight years later in June 1894 by the then Prince of Wales (who went on to become Kind Edward VII).
The bridge consists of two suspension bridges spanning from the shores to two large piers which rise high above the Thames and are connected by a central section made up of two leaves or bascules. These open up to an angle of 83o to let tall ships pass through freely. The two piers are also joined across the top by two high level walk ways.
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