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Interesting facts

Tower Bridge has a fascinating history, which is explored in full in it's Tower Bridge Exhibition. Here are a few interesting facts you may not have known:

Interesting facts about Tower Bridge.

1910 The high-level walkways, which were designed so that the public could still cross the Bridge when it was raised, were closed down due to lack of use. Most people preferred to wait at the bottom and watch the bascules rise up! 1912 During an emergency, Frank McClean had to fly between the bascules and the high-level Walkways in his Short biplane, to avoid an accident. 1952 A London bus had to leap from one bascule to the other when the Bridge began to rise with the bus still on it. 1977 Tower Bridge was painted red, white and blue to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee. (Before that, it was painted a chocolate brown colour).

1982 Tower Bridge opened to the public for the first time since 1910, with a permanent exhibition inside called the Tower Bridge Exhibition. The Walkways were glazed for the first time to house the new Exhibition. 1993 The centenary exhibition - The Tower Bridge Experience opened, featuring animatronic models telling the story of Tower Bridge. 1994 Tower Bridge became available to hire for parties and receptions. 2002 The current Tower Bridge Exhibtion opened, refocusing on the magnificent views from the Walkways and the history of the Bridge. 2003 Tower Bridge Exhibition came of age celebrating its 21st Birthday!

The Pool of London

If the River Thames is the artery of England's capital then the Pool of London is its heart. It was here, in the shadow of London Bridge, that the Thames guided the early Roman planners and where international trade continued to pump life into the capital for almost 2000 years ever since.

The buildings which surround the Pool provide the clearest illustration and reminder of its historic role. The old Customs House, Billingsgate Fish Market and the warehouses which populate Butlers Wharf and St Katharine Docks stand as testimony to the former trade in the area; while the Tower of London and the City Walls are evidence of the need to defend this key area. London Bridge marks the upper reaches of the international port, and the unique technical achievement of Tower Bridge has been providing the gateway between the Upper and Lower Pools for over 100 years.

The story of the Pool is the story of the origins of London itself. Whilst Kings and Queens eventually moved to Westminster, and London expanded far beyond its original boundaries, the Pool of London continued to feed and bring increasing prosperity to its citizens. Without the Pool, London would not exist - and to visit the Pool today is to enjoy the river and buildings that have had such a unique influence on making London what it is.

Roman Origins of the Pool

When the Romans first arrived in Britain, the London area was a barren landscape surrounding a wide, deep and tidal river. Roman merchants soon realised the potential of an area where ocean-going vessels could easily sail into the heart of South East England.

The first London Bridge was built, by at least AD70, to form a link between the high ground on the north bank and the network of islands which straddled the Thames to the south. With warehouses along the riverside, the road network that developed around the bridge was quickly built-up with shops and businesses. This thriving trading centre soon became the Roman City of Londinium and its roads extended to all areas of Roman Britain. Londinium was the commercial capital of the early Roman province, with its origins and focus down here in the Pool.

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