Tower Bridge, London
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
An 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.