In Pictures: The Secret Bits Of Tower Bridge

M@
By M@ Last edited 105 months ago
In Pictures: The Secret Bits Of Tower Bridge
The new Heron Tower peaks out from behind the Gherkin, in this view from Tower Bridge balcony.
The new Heron Tower peaks out from behind the Gherkin, in this view from Tower Bridge balcony.
The Victorian hydraulic machinery, decommissioned a couple of decades ago. 'It was much better than the modern engine,' reckons the operator.
The Victorian hydraulic machinery, decommissioned a couple of decades ago. 'It was much better than the modern engine,' reckons the operator.
Out on the tower balconies, superb views of the City fringes can be had.
Out on the tower balconies, superb views of the City fringes can be had.
Inside the bascule room. This cavernous space, below high-tide level, takes the descending counterweight when the bridge rises.
Inside the bascule room. This cavernous space, below high-tide level, takes the descending counterweight when the bridge rises.
The control room. That leaver is a manual control for moving the bascules up and down. Probably doesn't work in a left-right direction.
The control room. That leaver is a manual control for moving the bascules up and down. Probably doesn't work in a left-right direction.
Don't jump!
Don't jump!
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The modern electrical engine for raising and lowering the bridge.
The modern electrical engine for raising and lowering the bridge.
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The little-loved Tower Hotel looks a little more pleasant from above.
The little-loved Tower Hotel looks a little more pleasant from above.
Most visitors only get as high as the walkways, seen from above in this shot.
Most visitors only get as high as the walkways, seen from above in this shot.
Closeup of the roof tiles on the northern tower.
Closeup of the roof tiles on the northern tower.
The Gothic windows of the upper chamber.
The Gothic windows of the upper chamber.
The roof space of the towers is a cat's cradle of steel and wooden supports.
The roof space of the towers is a cat's cradle of steel and wooden supports.

You don't have to be Robert Downey Jr to get a view of London from the heights of Tower Bridge. The walkways along the top are open every day for paying tourists and private functions. The bits with the best views are normally off-limits, however. Last week the City of London Corporation invited us to take a look around the upper levels, as well as offering a snoop in the machinery room. Click through the gallery above for full descriptions.

Last Updated 09 February 2010