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The Making of a Global Icon: Tower Bridge Construction

London is a city that houses several famous tourist spots and historical landmarks, among them the statuesque Tower Bridge. If you're curious about the history of this majestic bridge, take a look at some interesting photos showing the Tower Bridge's construction after the jump!

The Tower Bridge of London was built in the late 19th century to accommodate tall-masted ships passing through the Thames, as required by the increased commerce in the East End of London. A committee, established by Sir Albert Joseph Altman in 1876 to adress the river crossing problem, announced a public competition for the bridge’s design. The approved design was submitted by City Architect (and also one of the judges) Sir Horace Jones in 1884. However, it was Jones’ engineer, Sir John Wolfe Barry, who came up with the idea of incorporating a bascule bridge (movable bridge) with two towers constructed on piers.

Construction of the bridge began in 1886 and took eight years to complete. The project involved five major contractors and employed 432 construction workers. Two enormous piers, built using more than 70,000 tons of concrete, were sunk into the riverbed to serve as the foundation of the construction. The framework for the walkways and the towers was built using over 11,000 tons of steel. The construction cost £1,184,000 (£100 million as of 2011). The Tower Bridge was officially opened to the public on June 30, 1894.

One hundred years later, a stash of interesting sepia photos of the construction were discovered and unveiled. The collection of 50 unique and unpublished photos were retrieved by a caretaker, who said he found the album along with some documents in a skip outside. He brought the documents to the Tower of London Museum, but the photos were not accepted. Not knowing what to do with them, the caretaker wrapped them in brown paper, placed them in a bag, and kept it under his bed for years.

Now, we can take a look at some these beautiful photos, which show the Tower Bridge construction in amazing details!

If you liked this article, you might also want to check out other articles on The Making of a Global Icon series!

Information for this article were taken from Wikipedia, How to Be a Retronaut, and Daily Telegraph.

written by plasticpopsicle

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