Originally built in the late nineteenth century to create a method of crossing the River Thames from the East End Tower Bridge was, in its day, the largest bascule (see-saw) bridge in the world. In 1910 the upper walkway, which allowed people to cross the Thames even when the bridge was raised to allow boats through, was closed due to lack of use. It was just too impractical for people to carry their goods up to the walkway and the majority preferred, instead, to wait for the bridge to be lowered to allow them to cross.
In 1982, the upper walkway was re-opened to the public. Since then, this has been home to the Tower Bridge Exhibition which offers visitors the chance to learn more about the fascinating history of the bridge and its workings. The Exhibition chronicles the building of the bridge and showcases some of the original pumps that were in place back in the days when the bridge’s hydraulic mechanisms were powered by steam. The Exhibition is fun for people of all ages, with interactive kiosks and video walls which detail everything from royal visits to the bridge, to daredevil stunts. You’ll learn all sorts of interesting things about the bridge including how, in 1952, bus driver Albert Gunton was forced to make the leap from one bascule to the other when the bridge opened with his bus still on it.
Once you have enjoyed the exhibits, which have embraced modern technologies without losing touch with the Victorian spirit of the bridge, you can take in the panoramic views over the city. It’s great fun to try to spot the major London landmarks. You can also visit some of the other local attractions, including the famous Tower of London.
The Tower Bridge, which offers venue hire for events as well as being a tourist destination, is a must see for visitors to London. If you are looking for somewhere to stay that is close to the bridge, a good option is the Travelodge Tower Bridge hotel. Its convenient location means that you will be able to pay a visit to the bridge, even if your stay in London is short. With a reasonable admission charge and something for everyone to enjoy, the bridge is one tourist hot spot you won’t want to miss.
image is from freedigitalphotos.net