A vital link
|The Upper Pool and Tower Bridge. © NMM|
Once Tower Bridge was open, the early doubts and controversies soon melted away.
The bridge immediately became a vital link between the City and the south bank of the Thames.
It proved perfectly able to accommodate shipping in the Upper Pool. In the heyday of the port, its bascules were raised thousands of times each year.
|An early postcard of Tower Bridge. © NMM|
A much-loved landmark
|Tower Bridge, by W.L. Wyllie. © NMM|
Apart from its important practical functions, Tower Bridge also became a familiar and much-loved landmark, and a favourite subject for photographers and artists.
Just as the Eiffel Tower (completed five years before Tower Bridge) came to symbolize Paris and France, so Tower Bridge came to symbolize London and Britain for many people.
|Looking towards Tower Bridge and the fires in the East End. © NMM|
|The U155 at Tower Bridge. © NMM|
Because of its unique silhouette, Tower Bridge is often photographed for its own sake.
It has also been used as a background in countless tourist holiday snaps and carefully positioned publicity shots.
|A 1947 publicity shot. © NMM|
It is one of the most familiar structures in Britain. Like the dome of St Paul's Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and double-decker buses, Tower Bridge instantly conveys a sense of London.
The pedestrian walkways
|A scene from the launch of PortCities. © NMM|
Few people used the pedestrian walkways, which were closed in 1910.
They had proved too convenient for publicity seekers and would-be suicides who wanted to jump into the Thames.
Nowadays they provide publicity of a more useful kind. The UK launch of PortCities was held here in September 2003.