The Tower Bridge is named from its location near the Tower of London.
The Tower Bridge was built between 1886 and 1896 to span the River Thames in London, England, United Kingdom. It connects the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark. Today, the bridge is crossed by over 40,000 people and 21,000 vehicles per day.
The bridge is 800 feet in length with two towers each 213 feet high and is 60 feet wide. The central span between the towers is 200 feet and is split equally between two moveable roadways. The roadway sections raise up to an angle of 86 degrees when large ships need to pass through.
What type of bridge is the Tower Bridge?
The Tower Bridge is actually three different types of bridges.
- The two roadways from the shore to the towers are a suspension bridges with suspension cables and steel links supporting the roadway.
- The roadways between the two towers is a bascule bridge where the center section can be lifted in two equal pieces.
- The upper level walkway between the two towers is a cantilever bridge but in 1960 suspension cables were added to provide extra support.
The two suspension sections of the bridge are what make the bridge colorful. The steel links that are attached to the abutments on the bank of the river and the tower in the river are light blue. The suspension cables that hang form the steel links and support the roadway are white. Finally, the sides of the roadway are dark blue.
The draw bridge portion of the Tower Bridge is dark blue and is a similar color with the sides of the roadway. The roadway support is light blue which is also similar to the suspension support on the sides of the bridge. The difference is that the roadway support is under the road as opposed to the suspension section which is above the road.
This section of the bridge is designed to open allowing river traffic to move past the bridge. The bridge usually opens at least once a day and around 1000 times a year. Boats are required to schedule when they need the bridge opened with a 24 hour notice. Scheduled bridge time openings are listed on the Tower Bridge website.
The two support towers of the bridge are designed in Victorian Gothic style to visually match the style to the Tower of London which is on the bank of the River Thames nearby the Tower Bridge.
Open Air Walkways
The upper level open air walkways are free to walk across. The stairs to the cross walk are inside each of the towers and there are 206 steps form the bridge level to the upper level walkways.
Best View of the Bridge
The Tower Bridge is spectacular from any vantage point but my opinion is that the best view of the bridge is from the middle of the River Thames. Being in the middle of the river allows you to see the entire bridge from one side of the river bank to the other.
Other nice viewpoints of the Bridge
Other nice viewpoints of the Tower Bridge are from the top of The Monument to the Great Fire of London and from the observation deck of the Shard building. Views of the Tower Bridge from these two locations are shown in the photos below.
Night view of the bridge
I always like to see famous places or modern architecture during the daytime and at night. Many times seeing a place after dark provides a completely different perspective. My final photo of the Tower Bridge was taken at dusk after the lights of the bridge were lit.
This Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world and it is one of the top tourist attractions in London. Every first time visitor to London will absolutely have it on their “must see” list. It is such a symbol of London that many people think that its name is the “London Bridge” but the actual London Bridge is much less prominent.
The Tower Bridge is a perfect complement for the Tower of London. The architecture of the bridge matches the architecture of London Tower so well that it is hard to believe that they were built over 800 years apart.
I like modern architecture and I like architecture that reflects the period and culture of when and where they were built. One of the things that I like the most about the Tower Bridge is that its architecture is immediately identified as being from London.