On 30th June 2014, Tower Bridge celebrated it’s 120th anniversary of its official opening in 1894 and so in order to share the love, were offering admission to the Tower Bridge Exhibition for a one day special price of only £1.20.In 1876 the City of London Corporation decided that London needed another bridge to the east of London Bridge in order to serve the growing population. Over 50 designs for the bridge were submitted before the final design was chosen. The high level walkways at the top of Tower Bridge were once open to the public to use when the bridge was raised but they found that many people preferred to just wait for the bridge to close rather than climb the stairs to the walkways and so they were closed in 1910. In 1982 they opened as a tourist attraction – the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
I’ve never visited the Tower Bridge Exhibition but for only 120 English pennies, I was tempted. Luckily it’s within an easy walking distance of my office and so I decided to head over there at lunchtime to have a look.
I joined the queue which thankfully was quite fast moving and found myself being chided for my public nakedness by a Victorian gentleman. Now there have been times when I should definitely have been criticised for immodesty but never in an all too sensible knee length work skirt. Too much ankle apparently.
I handed over my money, resisted buying a limited edition pin/magnet/keyring (trying to resist anything ‘limited edition’ is almost impossible for me) and received a commemorative ticket which was a reproduction of the original one.
I had a choice of taking the stairs up or the lift and being lazy took the lift. Once you step out of the lift you enter a little video projection presentation which talks about the design of the bridge a bit. I must admit that although they’d clearly tried to make this entertaining, it was a bit tedious and I have no idea what foreign tourists think of it as it’s all in English with no concessions that I could discern for non-English speakers. I didn’t quite sit through the whole thing as it was a bit tedious and I was on my lunch break so only had limited time.
After I skipped through the little presentation, I moved through to the East walkway where there were rows of photos of other bridges from around the world and bits of information about them.
From the East walkway you can see the other walkway (and a sneaky view of St Paul’s).
Personally I didn’t find the information in the walkways particularly scintillating so I took in the views instead. To the East…
…and to the West, to the West…
In the south tower there was a presentation about the actual construction of the bridge which I watched before heading down and out. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the Engine Room which is also included with the admission, but I did just about make it back into the office before the heavens opened, so that’s one thing.
I didn’t get a party bag and a piece of cake as I left but happy (slightly belated now) 120th birthday Tower Bridge, you sexy pensioner you! Here’s to many more!