Tower Bridge IRL

Many people confuse London Bridge with the Tower Bridge. That’s because London Bridge is tragically boring, while the Tower Bridge is one hot mama.


I follow the Tower Bridge on Twitter, so it seemed only polite to drop in and say hello in real life. (The Twitter feed tells you when the bridge is opening and closing, and for which boats, which is pretty awesome when you’re dreaming of rivers all day in an office with no windows.)


The bridge was built in the late 1800s. It was a design challenge because it was not supposed to interfere with the tall-masted ships that brought cargo through. Thus, the drawbridge — technically a pair of bascules, my new favorite word — originally powered by pressurized water.

In 1952 a double-decker bus was crossing over when the bridge operators got their signals crossed and began to open for a passing ship. The quick-thinking driver floored the accelerator, jumped a three-foot gap, and landed safely. There were no serious injuries to passengers. The driver received a not-so-impressive reward of 10 pounds for this feat.


One thing I really wish I’d known about the bridge when I was there: you can actually cross over on those high walkways between the two towers. That must be quite a view.