Monday, March 3, 2014

Tower of London and Tower Bridge, London

Don't be fooled by the title of this post, we went into neither the Tower of London nor the Tower Bridge, mostly because we thought the children would not have the stamina to see all of the Tower or climb to the top of the Bridge. But we took some pictures from our tour bus.

The bus route took us over another bridge before we crossed Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge is an iconic London landmark. Finished in 1894 by Sir Horace Jones, the bridge shows off the Gothic interests of the Victorian era. I knew that the roadway could be drawn up to let ships pass but I did not know that the upper walkways between the towers are open to pedestrians. They were closed from 1909 to 1982, as our guide book succinctly puts it, "due to their popularity with suicides and prostitutes." The bridge now houses an exhibit on its history and also hosts functions.

Tower Bridge seen from London Bridge

Approaching the tower!

In between the towers

Leaving the bridge behind

Just beyond the bridge is the Tower of London. The tower began when William the Conqueror built a fortress here. The central White Tower that he built still stands today. The rest of the fortress grew around it over the centuries. Also over the centuries, it was used as a royal residence, treasury, armory, and as a prison for the King's (or Queen's) enemies. Here is where Richard III's nephews died under mysterious circumstances, where St. Thomas More was imprisoned before his beheading, where the Crown Jewels are now kept.

The Tower is quite impressive from the outside.

The corner by the Thames, with the Traitors' Gate on the left

They must have had a lot of archers!

The Tower wall with the Bridge on the left

There's always something under repair!

Just down the street from the Tower is a war memorial in Trinity Square Gardens.

Trinity Square Gardens Memorial

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