Why was Tower Bridge built?

Why was Tower Bridge built?

Can you imagine a London without Tower Bridge?

Education Officer, David Laird, explores why Tower Bridge was built and how its iconic design was chosen in these engaging films.  Join him in discovering London before Tower Bridge, and the bridges that might have been.

Then continue your learning with our worksheets. Sharpen your geography skills with our cargo activity sheet, or even become a bridge designer!

These resources can be used standalone, or to accompany a free virtual workshop, such as Raise Tower Bridge with Scratch! or a virtual Q&A.

Email learning@towerbridge.org.uk for more information or to book.  

Image of 'New' London Bridge (right) courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives.

Why was Tower Bridge needed?

Tower Bridge has stood as a gateway to London, and witness to its history, since 1894. But what was the capital like in the years before the Bridge was built, and why was a new bridge needed?  Watch our engaging film to discover the hustle and bustle of the Victorian Thames and explore the reasons for the Bridge's construction.

Activity - All about cargo

The trade of goods from all around the world played a big role in the development of the Thames in this part of London.  

Use our worksheet to learn more about the cargo that filled the ships and wharves of Victorian London, discover where it came from, and plot its route to the Thames.  

Either print out the downloadable worksheet below, or simply grab a sheet of paper and a pencil, and follow the activities from the screen. Can you guide the precious cargo safely around the world?!

Download worksheet

Image courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives.

The competition to build Tower Bridge

Did you know that an open competition was held to design the new bridge that east London urgently needed?  Find out more about the competition, and see some of the rejected designs, as Education Officer, David Laird, explores the process of designing the bridge we know so well today.

An alternative design for Tower Bridge

Activity - Design a bridge!

Could you be the next Horace Jones or John Wolfe Barry? 

Put your architecture and engineering skills to the test with this creative activity, which challenges you to design a new bridge for your local area.

Either print the worksheet downloadable below, or simply grab a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, and follow the activity from the screen. 

Download worksheet

Dive deeper

Now you've discovered why Tower Bridge was built, continue your learning by enjoying our films and activities which explore how the Bridge was built, and how it works.

You'll be a Bridge expert in no time!