Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge

Ancient City Trust pays £4million for three-year-long Tower Bridge facelift

  • 22,000 litres of paint will be used on Tower Bridge
  • 44,000 man hours to complete the Tower Bridge job over a three- year period
  • Tower Bridge will retain its traditional blue and white colour dating back to 1894
  • 1,500 tonnes of expendable abrasive will be used to blast Tower Bridge back to its metal framework before repainting
  • 40,000 motorists and pedestrians cross Tower Bridge every day
  • Revolutionary new paint used will last for 25 years with a top – up every 12 years
  • Whole bridge sections will be encapsulated to catch old paintwork as it falls, protecting Thames river life

 

tower-bridge-londonAn ancient City trust, Bridge House Estates, of which the City of London Corporation is the sole trustee, have started a £4million programme to revitalise Tower Bridge.

Follow the restoration of Tower Bridge on our dedicated website: www.thetowerbridge.info

As one of the world’s most iconic and internationally recognised landmarks, and arguably one of the most ambitious engineering projects of its age, the smart appearance and imposing grandeur of Tower Bridge resonates strongly with national pride.

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However, thanks to canny investment by the medieval monks who founded the ancient City charity, the three-year maintenance project will go ahead alongside continued grant-giving totalling £60million to charities in Greater London.

The ancient City trust, now worth £700million, can trace its roots back to 1097 when Londoners paid a toll if they wanted to cross the original London Bridge, the only bridge over the Thames until Westminster Bridge opened in 1750.

The primary purpose of this trust was and still is to maintain all five City bridges (London, Tower, Southwark, Blackfriars and Millennium Bridges) at no cost to the taxpayer.

However, following an Act of Parliament in 1995, any money surplus to bridge maintenance requirements was allowed to be distributed to help charitable causes within Greater London.The City Bridge Trust was formed to manage the annual distribution of approximately £15mn a year and has since made over 5,000 grants to benefit charities in every London borough. The grants in this 12-year period have totalled well over £200 million.

The programme will see sections of the bridge, accounting for roughly 25% of the total structure each time, alternately shrouded in scaffolding over the next three years until the bridge is immaculately finished.

This section-by-section approach is essential so as not to disrupt road or river traffic too dramatically during the work. The bridge must be completely encapsulated in order to catch the old paintwork that must be blasted off the metal bridge framework before repainting can commence. The paint debris will be collected on a shelf below the bridge which is vacuumed up daily and disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.

Tower Bridge has stood over the River Thames in London since 1894 and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world. It is the bridge of London you tend to see in movies and on advertising literature for London. Tower Bridge is the only bridge on the Thames which can be raised.

  • The bridge was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, and his wife, Alexandra of Denmark.
  • Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge, its proximity to the Tower of London gives it its name.
  • It is 60 meters long with towers that rise to a height of 43 meters. Its middle section can be raised to permit large vessels to pass the Tower Bridge. Massive engines raise the bridge sections, which weigh about 1000 tonnes each, in just over a minute.
  • The Bridge used to be raised about 50 times a day, but nowadays it is only raised around 1000 times a year
  • Tower Bridge is still a busy and vital crossing of the Thames: it is crossed by over 40,000 people (motorists and pedestrians) every day

The restoration is being filmed and photographed by Harris Digital Productions, who have set up the website www.thetowerbridge.info to show work in progress and updated information about the project.

On the BBC

The BBC has published a gallery of our images showing the restoration of Tower Bridge on the BBC website.

Harris Digital Productions is recording the £4million restoration for the City of London, Corporation

As one of the world’s most iconic and internationally recognised landmarks, and arguably one of the most ambitious engineering projects of its age, the smart appearance and imposing grandeur of Tower Bridge resonates strongly with national pride.

scaffolding-on-tower-bridgeYou can follow the restoration of Tower Bridge on our project website at www.thetowerbridge.info

Victoria Station Refurbishment

Victoria Station is one of the busiest railway terminuses’ in the UK with an estimated 115 million people passing through it every year. The station is also home to the London Underground and various other modes of transport are available nearby (such as the Victoria Coach Station located along Buckingham Palace Road). At present the station is served by Gatwick Express, South Eastern Trains and the Southern Railway. Refurbishments currently taking place include a re-paint of the roof and lower level canopies.

Victoria Station
London Victoria Station

Named after the British monarch Queen Victoria, Victoria Station was actually created by the combination of two separate stations in the wake of the Great Exhibition of 1851. The aim of the exhibition, originally located in London`s Hyde Park, was to showcase Britain`s industrial superiority over the rest of the world, and drew in millions of visitors from the UK and beyond.

Victoria Station
Victoria Station – refurbishments currently taking place include a re-paint of the roof and lower level canopies

Once the exhibition had been relocated to Penge, the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway was incorporated to serve the new site. A terminal was soon needed on the north side of the River Thames and in 1858 the Victoria Station and Pimlico Railway was established. The station was built in two parts, the eastern (Chatham) side with services to Kent, and the western (Brighton) side with services to Surrey and Sussex, including Gatwick Airport and Brighton. Nearby attractions include Buckingham Palace and the Apollo Victoria Theatre.

Blackfriars Railway Bridge Refurbishment

Since March of last year Blackfriars Railway Bridge has been the focus of major refurbishments as part of Network Rail`s Thameslink upgrade programme. Whilst the short-term effect of these works has no doubt been the bane of many a commuters journey, directors promise that the long-term results will be well worth it, with an enlarged Tube ticket hall, refurbished platforms and improved access to platforms. In order to accommodate a higher influx of train’s platforms will also be extended across the Thames, an unprecedented move for any London station.  Whilst the stations Overground services have stayed open to commuters, its Underground will remain closed until late next year.

Blackfriars Railway Bridge
Blackfriars Railway Bridge

Located between Blackfriars Bridge and the Millennium Bridge, Blackfriars Railway Bridge is the second of two structures to have that name. The original Blackfriars Bridge was designed by Joseph Cubitt and opened in 1864, but following the formation of the Southern Railway its use dwindled. It was eventually removed in 1985 although to this day a number of the bridge`s original columns remain, along with its southern abutment. The current bridge, designed by W. Mills and opened in 1886, is located alongside the old bridge and was originally called St Paul`s Railway Bridge. In 1937 it changed its name to the one we know today; Blackfriars.

Blackfriars Railway Bridge with the remains of the old bridge in the foreground
Blackfriars Railway Bridge with the remains of the old bridge in the foreground

Scaffolding being erected on Blackfriars Railway Bridge – April 2010

New balustrade and platform cage

New viewing platform
New viewing platform

On Saturday 11 October the streets around the Monument were closed for an exciting landmark event in the Monument restoration project. A massive 100 tonne crane winched a new balustrade and platform cage on to the viewing platform. The balustrade was lifted in two sections before workmen welded it together. The operation took five hours to complete.

The platform cage has been constructed of lightweight cable mesh, stretched over stainless steel tubes. It replaces the former iron bars which were installed in the 1950s. This installation is part of the £4.5 million project which also involves the cleaning and repair of the Monument’s stonework and the regilding of its famous golden orb.

View images of the balustrade and cage installation on the Monument website: www.themonument.info/diary/11102008.asp

Harris Digital Productions filmed and photographed the installation for the City of London.
Repairs to the Monument are carried out every hundred years, the last major work was undertaken in the 1880s. The current project has cost the City of London Corporation £4.5million.

Visitors who climb the 311 spiral steps to admire the view at the top will also be able to use state of the art telescopes which have been designed as part of the new balustrade. The curved stainless tubes of the structure contain the electrical cabling for the services on the viewing platform including CCTV cameras and lighting.

Built in 1671 to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666, the Monument is one of the City’s most outstanding landmarks. The Grade 1 listed building has been closed since July 2007 and is due to open in February 2009.

You can follow the restoration of the Monument on our dedicated website www.themonument.info

Temple Bar Gateway

Temple Bar has finally returned to the Square Mile. In the December meeting of the Court of Common Council in 2001, the City of London agreed to fund the return of Temple Bar to the Square Mile. At a cost of just over £3.0m – funded by the City of London along with donations from the Temple Bar Trust and several Livery Companies – the reconstruction of Temple Bar on a site next to St Paul’s Cathedral was completed in November 2004.

Harris Digital Productions filmed the 18 month project, which clocked up over 130 hours of video footage.

 

temple-bar-london

You can watch a preview of our forthcoming production on the Temple Bar Gateway website.

Visit www.thetemplebar.info for further details.

The Beasts

danFor many years, a masterpiece of English Baroque Architecture had languished forgotten and decaying in Central London. This is the Church of St George’s Bloomsbury, designed by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor in the early 18th Century.

The tower and steeple of St George’s is one of Hawkmoor’s most inspired dramatic and theatrical designs. It is based on the Roman author Pliny the Elder’s description of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (Bodrum, in Turkey) One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was famed for its superb sculptures and friezes, fragments of which are now on display in the British Museum, a stone’s throw away from the church.
Like the famed Mausoleum, St George’s spire is adorned with sculpture, but major elements of it were removed in a restoration of the 1870’s. Gigantic Lions and Unicorns originally clung to the four corners of the steeple.

As part of the restoration in 2004-2006, these extraordinary sculptures were recreated and restored to the building by the Cambridge based Architectural Carvers and Stonemasons, Fairhaven of Anglesey Abbey Ltd (now Fairhaven and Woods Ltd).

Harris Digital Productions filmed the whole process, from the model making, carving and the 72 stone sections which were assembled around the spire of the church.

 

beasts-st-george-bloomsbury

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