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Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, that was built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London.
See the fact file below for more information on the Tower Bridge or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Tower Bridge worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Tower Bridge is a movable bridge of the double-leaf bascule (drawbridge) type that spans the River Thames between the Great London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark. It is a distinct landmark that aesthetically complements the Tower of London which it adjoins.
- The bridge was completed in 1894. It is about 240 metres (800 feet) in length and provides an opening that is 76 metres (250 feet) wide. Its twin towers rise 61 metres (200 feet) above the Thames.
- Between the towers stretch a pair of glass-covered walkways that are popular among tourists. Tower Bridge was operated by hydraulic pumps driven by steam until 1976, when electric motors were put into operation.
- During the nineteenth century, engineers were largely concerned with the fact that if they construct a fixed bridge, it would likely affect the sailing ships which travel between the tower of London and London Bridge.
- In 1877, Sir Albert Joseph Altman chaired a Special Bridge or Subway Committee to find a way. The engineers submitted as many as 50 bridge designs. Sir Joseph Bazalgette, a civil engineer, also presented a design but it was rejected because it didn’t have headroom.
- In 1884, however, the committee approved Joseph’s design. They decided to build the bascule bridge. The architect, Sir Horace Jones, and the engineer, Sir John Wolfe Barry, were appointed to construct the bridge.
- Parliament passed the Act in 1885 to approve the budget for the bridge. The authorities installed the third engine in 1942 merely to give support to the remaining ones during World War II. They thought that the enemy might hit the bridge during the war.
- All engines were modernized in 1974 and the one that was installed in 1942 was finally donated to the Industrial Museum.The management installed a computer system in 2000 to help it in lifting as well as lowering down the bascules simply by remote. However, the computer system turned out to be unreliable as the bridge often got stuck in the middle.
- The construction had begun in 1886. Five chief architects headed the construction: Baron Armstrong (hydraulics), Sir William Arrol & Co., Sir John Jackson (foundations), E.W. Crutwell, and William Webster.
- About 432 workers were employed to begin the construction. The engineers sank two mammoth-sized concrete piers weighing 70,000 tons into the riverbed.
- The piers were going to support the construction. They used 11,000 tons of steel to build the bridge’s framework. They also used Portland stone and Cornish granite to give protection to the steel.
- The Bridge House Estates maintain the tower bridge. It was built in a Gothic style. The total cost of construction is estimated at £1,184,000 that is equal to £124 million in 2016.
- The Prince of Wales officially opened the Tower Bridge on June 30, 1894.
- The bridge provided the link between present-day Tower Bridge Approach and Tower Bridge Road. The former was known as Iron Gate while the latter as Horselydown then.
- Soon after the opening, the bridge was used by hundreds of pedestrians for free. There was no toll to pay.
- However, the foot tunnel was shut down in 1898. The upper walkways were rarely used by pedestrians as pickpockets or prostitutes had become fairly common.
- Thus the walkway was closed in 1910. In 1982, it was opened again for pedestrians. When the bridge is closed the clearance height is about 28 feet (8.6 meters). However, when it is raised up, the clearance height becomes 139 feet (42.5 meters).
- The Tower Bridge authorities announced major changes in April 2008 when they decided to introduce a facelift for the bridge. The total estimated cost was about £4 million.
- The facelift project was going to take four years to complete. The facelift project features many changes such as stripping off the metal paint to repaint it in white and blue.
- The contractors faced many challenges in that the bridge cannot be closed all together. There were several disruptions.
- Once done, the new facelift was going to last for as long as 25 years from the year 2008.
- Eleni Shiarlis installed new lighting on the walkways which are also used for exhibitions and new year festivals.
Tower Bridge Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Tower Bridge across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Tower Bridge worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Tower Bridge which is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, that was built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Tower Bridge in London
- Tower Bridge Profile
- Sentence Completion
- T for Tower Bridge
- Imagine Tower Bridge
- Tower Bridge Puzzle
- 19th Century Events
- Best Features
- The Tower Bridge
- Movies in London
- London Quotes
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Link will appear as Tower Bridge Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 11, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.