2 1/2 years of visiting/living in London and I finally got the chance to see Tower Bridge lift it’s bascules!
Bascules are the technical name for a part of a bridge which can lift open. Therefore Tower Bridge is a bascule bridge (also a suspension bridge too).
It takes Tower Bridge one minute and fifteen seconds to open/lift to allow boats and ships through, so two and a half minutes to open and close in total.
However, the bascules can lift to near 90 degrees if needed, when ships such as the HMS Edinburgh the need to pass under. So The bascule operator of Tower Bridge can vary the lift needed and times could take longer to open and close (I reckon closer to the three and a half minute mark fully lifted).
It never occurred to me that Tower Bridge had this ability. Has Tower Bridge ever featured in a movie where a car jumps from one side to the other as it opens? The Spice Girls movie does not count.
In 2009, Motocross star Robbie Maddison jumped an opening Tower Bridge for a Red Bull campaign, whilst performing a no handed backflip no less.
On 30th December 1952, Tower Bridge began to open while a double decker bus was on it! Luckily, the bus driver noticed and acted quickly by accelerating onto the other side. Apparently, the person in charge of making sure the bridge is clear of traffic didn’t notice the double decker bus. It’s only a double decker bus ya know! Would make a great Specsavers ad don’t you think? Only minor injuries were sustained to those on board. The driver, Albert Gunter, received a £10 bonus from the TFL for his actions.
In 2012, Tower Bridge once opened to let a duck through… Okay, it was a 50ft rubber duck as part of a promotional campaign for Jackpotjoy.com!
All of this might not have been possible as many original designs for Tower Bridge did not feature bascules. We have engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry to thank that it does.
How often does Tower Bridge open and close every day? It’s best to check the the bridge lift times here.
When did Tower Bridge open for the first time?
Tower Bridge in London, England opened for the first time on June 30, 1894.
Who designed Tower Bridge?
Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones, a British architect, in collaboration with John Wolfe-Barry, a civil engineer.
What is the history of Tower Bridge?
Tower Bridge is a iconic landmark in London, England and has a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. The bridge was designed to provide a crossing over the River Thames and alleviate traffic congestion in the area. The construction of the bridge began in 1886 and was completed in 1894.
The design of the bridge, which features two towers and a bascule (a type of drawbridge) that could be raised to allow large ships to pass, was a marvel of Victorian engineering. The bridge has been an important part of London’s history and has undergone several renovations and upgrades over the years to keep it functional and aesthetically pleasing.
During World War II, Tower Bridge played a significant role in the defense of London and was a target of German bombing. However, it withstood the attacks and remained operational throughout the war.
Today, Tower Bridge is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting millions of visitors each year. It continues to serve as a busy road and pedestrian crossing over the River Thames and remains an important symbol of the city’s history and cultural heritage.
How many times does tower bridge open every year?
The number of times Tower Bridge opens in a day can vary depending on the amount of river traffic. On average, the bridge may open around 800-1000 times per year, although this number can fluctuate depending on the time of year and the level of river traffic. The bridge is typically opened during the day to allow ships to pass through, although it can also be opened during nighttime hours if necessary.
It’s worth noting that the opening of Tower Bridge is not a regular occurrence and only happens when necessary to allow larger ships to pass. The bridge can also be opened for special events or for maintenance purposes. If you’re interested in witnessing the bridge open, you can check the Tower Bridge website for a schedule of planned liftings, or contact the bridge operator for more information.
Have you seen Tower Bridge opening for ships? Tell me in the comments section below!