Tower Bridge Unveils World First for Visitors With Opening of New Glass Floor across its High-Level Walkways
- £1 million funded project from the Bridge House Estates and City of London Corporation to significantly enhance the visitor experience to the most famous bridge in the world
- New glass floor panels along Tower Bridge Exhibition’s high-level Walkways will each measure 11 metres long and 1.8 metres wide
- The new floor across each Walkway will consist of six glass panels, each weighing approximately 530 kgs each
- New glass floor will enable visitors to experience a bridge lift from a unique viewpoint, one of the most iconic sights in London
- In conjuction with the new flooring, Tower Bridge Exhibition launches its first ever Augmented Reality App, providing visitors with an immersive 360 degrees experience of the bridge raising beneath your feet
Tower Bridge Exhibition, one of London’s most iconic attractions, today unveils a world first for its visitors with the opening of new glass floor across its high-level Walkways, 42 metres above the Thames – the most significant change to the Exhibition since it first opened in 1982.
The West Walkway is being unveiled today, with the re-opening of the East Walkway set for 1 December. Measuring 11 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, the new glass floor will significantly enhance the attraction experience, allowing visitors to enjoy a unique viewpoint of the world-famous bridge lifts.
Provided by the City of London Corporation and developed under the auspices of its Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, plans for Tower Bridge Exhibition’s new £1M glass floor has been underway for two years. With circa 600,000 visitors per year, the attraction now expects this exciting new feature to significantly increase visitor numbers.
The flooring across each Walkway comprises of six panels, each weighing 530 kilograms, supported by a carbon steel framework weighing approximately 1,000 kilograms. The Walkways original steel lattice structure has been preserved under the glass. The installation took a 20-strong team to construct over a six-week period.
In conjunction with the new look Walkways, Tower Bridge Exhibition today also launches its first ever state of the art Augmented Reality App for smart devices – the Raise Tower Bridge App. The FREE App takes visitors through an augmented reality window in the glass, allowing a full 360-degree panoramic video of the Bridge being raised. As the video begins to play, visitors will be able to find different angles to look through whilst moving around and experience the incredible drop to the water below.
Free to download, the App is available from the attraction’s website, iTunes as well as Google Play Stores. Visitors without a smart device, can make use of the assisted iPads available in the Walkways.
Tower Bridge Exhibition tells the history of the Bridge through animations and displays, across its towers, high-level panoramic Walkways and the atmospheric Victorian Engine Rooms.
With breathtaking vistas of the Capital, the experience of visiting the high-level Walkways will now be bolstered with the addition of three interactive touch screens showcasing how the Bridge raises in its modern context. Whilst the popular Great Bridges of the World exhibition has been refreshed, now featuring 40 of the world’s most revered bridges, each of which represents a breathtaking feat of engineering.
Continuing with the experience, the atmospheric setting of the Victorian Engine Rooms, houses the beautifully maintained steam engines that were once used to power the bridge lifts.
Christopher Earlie, Head of Tower Bridge said: “The opening of Tower Bridge marked the dawn of a legendary feat of engineering creating what is considered by many as the most famous bridge in the world. Today, 120 years on, we are extremely proud to unveil the new glass floor on the high-level Walkways – another astonishing engineering accomplishment.
“For the first time ever, visitors to the Exhibition will be able to experience a never seen before viewpoint of London – the Thames, road and pedestrian life, all moving at pace 42 metres below. Those who plan the time of their visit carefully, will be able to witness – from above - the magic of the Bridge raising for a river vessel!”
Vivienne Littlechild, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said: “Tower Bridge is one of the jewels in the City of London Corporation’s crown, and I am sure that the new glass panels on the Bridge’s walkways will provide a real thrill for visitors, as they look down at the rising bascules and the Thames nearly 140ft beneath their feet.”
2014 marks Tower Bridge’s 120th birthday, following its opening 30 June 1894 by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII).
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Notes to Editors:
- Tower Bridge was the creation of architect Sir Horace Jones and civil engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry. It took eight years to complete and was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra)
- Tower Bridge Exhibition opening hours:
- Summer Opening Hours: April - September 10:00 - 17:30 (last admission)
- Winter Opening Hours: October - March 09:30 - 17:00 (last admission)
- Admission prices for Tower Bridge Exhibition are: adults £9, children aged 5-15 £3.90 or £3.40 for a group of 10 or more, under 5s free and concessions £6.30, family tickets from 18. The nearest underground stations are London Bridge or Tower Hill.
- The experience visiting the High-Level Walkways has now been bolstered with the addition of three interactive touch screens showcasing how the Bridge raises in its modern context. Whilst the popular Great Bridges of the World exhibition has been refreshed, now featuring 40 of the world’s most revered bridges, each of which represents a breathtaking feat of engineering.
- Entry to the exhibition is included in the admission charge to Tower Bridge Exhibition.
- Tower Bridge and the Monument are provided by The City of London Corporation – a uniquely diverse organisation, in that it not only promotes and supports the City and provides it with a full range of services, but provides wider services for London and for the nation as a whole.www.cityoflondon.gov.uk.
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