On 30 June 1894 Tower Bridge was officially opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales, making this year its 125th anniversary.
Discussions about the need to find a solution to the river crossing problem at the Pool of London began with the Special Bridge or Subway Committee in 1877.
Over 50 designs were submitted. It was not till 1884 that a design was approved. The proposed design by Sir John Wolfe Barry and Sir Horace Jones wsa for a [from Wikipedia] “bascule bridge with two bridge towers built on piers. The central span was split into two equal bascules or leaves, which could be raised to allow river traffic to pass. The two side-spans were suspension bridges, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge’s upper walkways.”
An Act of Parliament was passed in 1885 authorising the bridge’s construction, specifying an opening span of 200 feet (61 m) and a headroom of 135 feet (41 m). Construction began in 1886 and took eight years to complete. The Portland stone and Cornish granite cladding were to protect the steel framework, and to give a pleasing and harmonious association to the adjacent Tower of London.
Looking at the bridge today it’s difficult to imagine how it was constructed. Photos taken during the construction shown how it was done. [Photos courtesy of Huffington Post, Wikipedia and Londonist].