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Tower Bridge - 2.Version - Referat

Tower Bridge

Introduction -Einleitung

I would like to tell you something about the “Tower Bridge” in London, because the Tower Bridge is one of the most famous sights in London. The bridge is owned and maintained by
“Bridge House Estates”, a company overseen by the “Corporation of London”.
The bridge was built from 1886 and was opened in the year 1894. The “Tower Bridge” is a grate example of technology, construction and architecture in the 19th century.

Location -Lage

The “Tower Bridge” is the connection between the district “City of London” in the north and the district “Southwark” in the south. Northerly located is the
“Tower of London” and the “St. Katharine Docks” and to the south of the Themse is the City hall.

Need -Erfordernis (requirement?)

In the year 1876 in the east of London the population had grown so that the people must have their own bridge or subway to cross the Themse. Without a new bridge or subway, in the east, they need some hours more over the existent bridges upstream in the west.

But between the London Bridge and the Tower of London there was a harbour to which also big ships had to arrive from see-side. So the bridge must be able to open if there came a big ship, which wants to get there.

Planning -Planung

So the “Special Bridge or Subway Committee” arranged a planning-competition and they had to vote for some bridge- and subway-constructions.
No more than 1884 ago the committee choose one of 50 designs. This was a Bascule-Bridge constructed by “Joseph Bazalgette”.

Building -Bau

So they employed 5 building-contractors and 432 building-workers. The begin of building was 1886 and took 8 years.
That they could build the bridge they had to sink 70.000 tons of concrete into the water. The towers and walkways are made of 11.000 tons of steel.
The whole bridge has a length of 244 meters. The bridge has 2 bascules, each weight 1.100 tons and each has a length of 30,5 meter they are between the 2 towers each have a height
of 65 meters. Between the 2 towers is also a walkway with a length of 61 meters maid from steel-construction and glass in the height of 43 meter.

Function -Funktion

The bascules are still operated by hydraulic power, 2 steam-engines pump water into a pressure accumulator. So they have anytime enough energy saved to lift the bascules in only 1 minute.
In the past the hydraulic system was based on water with pumps powered by steam-engine. Since 1976 the hydraulic system is based on oil and the pumps are powered by electricity.
When a big ship is coming along the Themes, the workers on the Bridge can open the bridge in 1 minute. This happens 500 times a year (about 2 times a day).

Today’s importance -Bedeutung heute

-Today the bridge is the main street “A 100”. The street is in the middle and on each side of it is located a walkway.
-The walkway with the glass facade in the height of 43 meters above the Themse is today an exhibition of the history and the construction, with photos, videos and models of the bridge.
-Furthermore the “Tower Bridge” is the most famous landmark of London.

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