Tower Bridge | Attraction Guides | History Hit

About Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is an iconic nineteenth century bridge which stands over the Thames in London.

The impetus to build Tower Bridge began gaining momentum in 1876, when it was decided that there was a need for a bridge to the east of London Bridge to accommodate the increasing commercial development in that part of the city. A competition was launched for the design of this new bridge, as a result of which city architect Horace Jones and engineer John Wolfe Barry were chosen to collaborate on the project.

The main concern was that the location of this new bridge meant that it could not be built in a traditional style as it had to allow access to ships to the port of London. Thus, Tower Bridge was designed as a drawbridge so that it would not obstruct the shipping passing up or downstream.  The solution is what you see today, except that the once steam powered mechanisms are now electric.

Tower Bridge was opened in 1894 by the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). The walkways, much used by the population, were closed to the public from 1910 to 1982 as many ‘undesirables’ were using it. They were reopened in 1982 and now Tower Bridge offers a wonderful exhibition on its structure and engineering. It can even be hired for private functions.