Thursday, 1 August 2013

Top turrets!

When the City of London very kindly invited me on a tour, a highlight was the opportunity to go into an area of Tower Bridge not open to the public: one of its turrets. From the upper walkways, now home to the Tower Bridge exhibition, we took a little spiral staircase into one of the two turrets topping the bridge's towers. This room not only has windows, but also small balconies offering views from each side. It's not the best place to be if you're not comfortable with heights, but the scenery makes for an impressive distraction!




It was amazing to be in this part of the bridge, and having access to the views unimpeded by glass was obviously a photographer's dream. However, the exhibition itself is also very much worth a visit. You travel by lift from road level to the high-level walkways, which were originally provided for pedestrians to cross the bridge while it was open, but didn't prove popular with the general public. They did prove more popular with prostitutes and their clients, and were soon closed! Now reopened and somewhat more salubrious, they host changing exhibitions and their windows offer a wonderful perspective over the river and across the city. Then there's a visit to the engine room, to see the original Victorian steam engines which once powered the bridge lifts.

The bridge is one of my very favourite London places, so I don't need much of an excuse to revisit the exhibition - but I'll soon have a very good reason indeed. Next year, there will be a brand-new view for all visitors: a section of glass flooring will be inserted into the walkways. It will offer not only a new angle on the bridge and its surroundings but also the exciting possibility of watching a bridge lift from above.


HughB said...

You need a jolly good head for heights to go up there! The view looks much better than from the Eye, though, and it's not moving.

CarolineLD said...

My head for heights isn't that good! I made myself feel queasy taking the photos looking down onto the bridge. The view is good enough to make it worthwhile, though.