Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Tower Bridge

This is the Tower Bridge.

In the late 1800s, ship traffic up and down the Thames was very heavy. The population had grown to such an extent that a bridge was required in the area. A regular bridge could not be used, because it would impede the tall ships traveling up and down the river. Designers were encouraged to submit their plans for a bridge that would allow for the ship traffic but also allow for uninterrupted foot traffic back and forth. After 8 years, a design was finally picked that suited everyone. The tower in the foreground was a house for the Bridge Master and his family. There was also a kitchen there to feed the men who worked in the lower levels of the bridge, operating the massive coal fired steam engines that that raised the bascules of drawbridge, an operation that took five minutes. 


A glimpse of some of that machinery. It was kept spic and span by the team of men who worked there under the direction of the Bridge Master. When they weren't raising and lowering the bridge and keeping the coal ovens stoked, they were polishing and cleaning. 


This is a glimpse of the approach on the bottom level. 

When the drawbridge is raised, people have the option of walking up the stairs in both the towers... 



...to access the sky bridge, which now has transparent panels to walk across and look at the traffic below. 


It also gave an amazing view of the city.


The bridge took 8 years to build by a team of 432 men. The two piers that the 60 foot tall towers are built on contain 70,000 cubic yards of cement and go 21 feet into the river bed of the Thames.  In the eight years of construction, 10 men died, which was amazing considering they were climbing all over the high girders with no safety gear.

The construction of it was an amazing feat for its time. 
I bought a book, but if you wish to learn more about it, here's a link.

Sorry so short. There are probably a million errors in this which I'll discover after I hit publish but we are quite busy here. We're knocking out some big projects at the renovation because next week I'm headed east to behold my darling grand-daughter and my son and pregnant daughter in law. It will be the first time that I've seen them since January. 

Accomplishing some of the big projects before I go provides Tim with plenty of small work to keep him occupied while I'm occupied somewhere else. We look to be finished by the end of May. 

Tim said, "When we are done with this, we're taking some time off." 

I said, "We've still got the garden..." 

He laughed, but he didn't sound like he thought it was funny. 
We both agree, however. With this inflation, a garden is mandatory.


 

22 comments:

  1. It would be good to see the raising of the bridge. Not that I've thought about it, but I assumed it was a lift bridge, perhaps because of the towers, but as you say it is a drawbridge operation. Interesting to learn.

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    1. Well Andrew, you sent me off on a google search. I never heard of a lift bridge before. It was an interesting read. I was fascinated by the engineering of the Tower Bridge, especially the building of the piers that support it. That part of the project alone took four years.

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  2. I love Tower Bridge; it's incredibly gorgeous. It was an answer on Jeopardy recently when a bus driver had to jump his vehicle over the gap when it was open for some reason. How exciting to be going back for a visit. I too will be traveling--to New York for my grandson's 2nd birthday. Unless I get Covid or the Alaska Airlines pilots decide not to fly. :(

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    1. I am going to the Eastern side of Pennsylvania to see my son and daughter-in-law. It is my daughter and son-in-law who live in England. (Can't see how that would be confusing...) :)

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  3. You are teaching us about our own country. I have just seen the bridge as a wonder of its particular age. Not sure I could face up to a glassed floor that high up in the sky though.

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    1. Thelma, I am afraid of heights. My daughter kept urging me to step out there. I took a deep breath and said to myself, 'Thousands of people do this every year, and no one has died'. And then I just did it.

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  4. Back when I was working in finance, I spent a few days in London on business and stayed at a hotel right next to Tower Bridge. I would spend my evenings in the bar nursing a glass of wine just looking at it through the windows.

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    1. The picture of the bridge was taken from a park in front of a hotel. It had a sculpture of dolphins. I didn't see the bridge at night, but it looks beautiful all lit up.

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  5. An amazing feat of Victorian engineering. When coal was king.

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    1. It was amazing. It sounds very stupid, but what most piqued my interest was just the amount of engineering and innovative thinking went into building the supports for that bridge. The caissons, the pumps, the digging (by hand!)

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  6. Definitely London's most beautiful bridge, by far! I went over that sky bridge about ten years ago but I'd forgotten the glass floor.

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    1. I really wanted to see the residence inside the tower. I am such a curious critter.

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  7. Yes, a big garden doesn’t allow much time off.

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    1. But at least it will allow us to spend some time at the retirement property where we can relax.

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  8. Wow! that certainly is amazing! I don't think I would be brave enough to walk on that clear floor tho! That view from the bridge has certainly changed since the bridge was built!

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    1. That's funny, Ellen. I stood there looking out the windows and trying to picture the city as it was 130 years ago. You are right. Far different view.

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  9. Thanks for the history lesson. If I even learned any of this, it has long since been lost in the gray matter. I don't think I could walk across a bridge of plexiglass. My heart is racing even at the thought...

    -Kelly

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    1. The skyway was not entirely glass. It just had panels. You could walk on the solid walk. It is just that I was being dared...

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  10. Hi Debby! I’m a recent follower of your blog, but without my own blog… I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your stories, thank you!🤗 Greetings from Ricki in the mid-Hudson valley, New York😊

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  11. Welcome Ricki! You live in a beautiful part of the country!

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  12. I am pleasant to learn more of this iconic bridge. I never really knew any of this.

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I'm glad you're here!

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