True or False: trivia about Tower Bridge

November 21, 2014 11:29 am

Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic landmarks – and you can’t miss it. Joining both river banks together, Tower Bridge was the first ever crossing over the Thames in 1894. With a fascinating exhibition and new glass walkway, Tower Bridge is one of the most popular sights and attractions in London, not least for it historic importance and industrial achievements.

For a bit of fun, we thought we’d test your knowledge on our favourite bridge with some True or False questions, so see how well you do:

True or False: Tower Bridge is covered in 22,000 litres of paint?

True! Tower Bridge is a hefty piece of work and is painted in 5,800 gallons of paint. Did you know originally the bridge was brown before it was painted red, white and blue in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

True or False: Over 20 bridge designs were submitted in a national competition?

False – there were actually over 50 designs that were submitted in the development stages in response to a nationwide competition. It was Horace Jones, the City architect, who won, in collaboration with John Wolfe Barry. If you visit the exhibition in the upper walkway, you can also see some of the designs that were entered, too.

True or False: The high level walkways were closed in 1910 because of their reputation as a crime hot-spot?

True – although Tower Bridge was built to help ease congestion East of the river and to allow people to cross whilst ships were passing underneath, the upper walkways were closed in 1910 due to disuse, perhaps as a result of and/or a factor of the fact they had become a notorious crime zone for pickpockets and hot spot for ladies of the night.

True or False: Oil Tycoon Robert P. McCulloch bought London Bridge thinking it was Tower Bridge?

No one really knows; some say McCulloch was shown designs and drawings of London Bridge, so was well aware of his purchase; but legend has it he was under false impressions that he was buying London’s historic Tower Bridge instead, and was less than impressed when he received London Bridge back in hometown Arizona.

True or False: You can watch Tower Bridge on a webcam, 24/7?

True! If you love Tower Bridge that much (or just want to find out what the weather’s really like in London!) you can watch a live webcam streamed here.

True or False: 10,000 people cross the bridge every day?

False – four times that many people (40,000) cross Tower Bridge every day. And careful if you’re in a car – there’s a strict speed limit if you’re driving, so don’t get caught!

True or False: Tower Bridge was the largest bascule bridge ever to be built?

True – Tower Bridge was so sophisticated in its engineering and design that it was the largest bascule bridge ever to be built at the time. The bascules were operated on hydraulics and steam, which raised the bridges up 86m in just a minute. They were powered by steam right up until 1976 when oil and electricity were more proficient. Today, the bascules are still raised, so check on their website for an up to date timetable.

True or False: the West Walkway of Tower Bridge is made of glass?  

True! Just opened this month, Tower Bridge has unveiled its new glass walkway where visitors can look down on the bridge and pedestrians below, at a height of 42m above the water. It’s a great experience and the most exciting development the bridge has undergone since 1982. Don’t worry – the thick glass can hold the equivalent weight of an elephant and two taxis, so it’s safe enough!


  • Avatar Phil Meadows says:

    I haven’t been in London since the 1980’s, so must remember the new walkway if I ever go again. In the 70’s, I stood with one foot on each span of the bridge and could feel the deflection at the joint as HGV’s passed over!

  • Avatar A. Bishop says:


    Some very interesting and fun facts there!

    However, I notuice that one given fact is incorrect; unless I am misreading it:

    “Tower Bridge was the first ever crossing over the Thames in 1894”

    Unless you are actually meaning that it was the first bridge built in the year of 1894, I’m sorry but you are incorrect. The first known bridge built over the Thames in London was by the Romans, nearly 2000 years earlier, with further bridges being built and demolished during the time between!

    I hope this error can be corrected – it concerns me that tourists from England and all over the world are being given incorrect information about such a prestigious landmark.

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