23rd November 2017 • Tower Bridge Blog
5 things you didn't know about Tower Bridge
1.There’s no charge for opening Tower Bridge
Boats passing through Tower Bridge do not need to pay for the bridge to open; they just need to be tall enough to require it. The cost of Tower Bridge opening is funded by the Bridge House Estates, a fund which cares for the 5 bridges in central London.
Drawbridges require ropes or chains to pull up the road, but Tower Bridge’s roads are too heavy to be opened like this. Instead it is a bascule bridge, which means the roads (bascules) move like 2 giant seesaws and pivot to open and close the bridge.
When Tower Bridge first opened, there was concern that some horses may not be strong enough to pull their carts up the incline to the Bridge. In order to prevent potential traffic problems and keep London moving, Tower Bridge kept its own horses on site, coming to the rescue when needed.
4.Tower Bridge was the birthplace of the parachute regiment
In 1917, Thomas Hans Orde-Lees jumped off Tower Bridge with a homemade parachute, to demonstrate its effectiveness at low altitudes to the Royal Air Force. They must have been impressed as this has been credited as where the parachute regiment began!
Rather gruesomely, in the Victorian times, bodies used to regularly wash up under the north side of Tower Bridge, and this area was given the name “Dead Man’s hole”. A mortuary was built to temporarily house these bodies until they were collected by the coroner., Thankfully it’s not in use anymore.