The Tower Bridge of London
The iconic Tower Bridge was constructed at the end of the 19th century, marking a significant engineering marvel of its time. The construction of the bridge was authorized by the Corporation of London (Tower Bridge) Act 1885, which bestowed upon the City of London Corporation the responsibility of maintaining and operating the bridge.
One of the remarkable features of Tower Bridge is its unique ability to raise its bascules, or drawbridges, to allow for the passage of tall ships along the River Thames. According to the provisions set forth in the Act, the City of London Corporation is obligated to raise the bridge whenever registered vessels with a mast or superstructure reaching a height of 30 feet or more require access to or egress from the Upper Pool of London.
In adherence to this mandate, the City of London Corporation provides this essential service free of charge, exemplifying the bridge’s importance as a vital transportation link. Vessel operators are required to provide a minimum notice period of 24 hours to request the raising of the bridge, ensuring smooth coordination and safe passage for maritime traffic. A notable aspect of the bridge’s operation is its unwavering availability throughout the year, tirelessly serving the needs of both domestic and international vessels. Tower Bridge’s drawbridge service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The frequency with which the Tower Bridge raises its bascules is truly impressive, underscoring its critical role in facilitating the passage of tall ships. On average, the bridge is raised approximately 850 times each year. This high number of bridge lifts demonstrates the continued significance of the River Thames as a vibrant waterway for maritime commerce and transportation, with Tower Bridge serving as a pivotal gateway for ships navigating through the heart of London.
Today, Tower Bridge remains an iconic landmark, a magnificent testament to Victorian-era engineering prowess, and a living testament to the enduring legacy of London’s maritime heritage. Its functional drawbridge operation continues to inspire awe and capture the imagination of visitors from around the world, cementing its status as one of the most recognizable and beloved symbols of the city.
Making short research on the bridge before posting the photo, I discovered that you can actually make a sightseeing tour inside the bridge, which is not merely walking there and back. There are even tours for engineers. You can dine there renting one of three lounges for a private or a corporate event. A wedding on a tower bridge! Wow!