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Tower bridge Today

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Tower Bridge Today

The high-level walkways between the towers gained an unpleasant reputation as a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets and were closed in 1910. They have been reopened as part of the Tower Bridge Experience, an exhibition mostly housed in the bridge's twin towers. The exhibition also includes photos, holograms and a film detailing the build, along with access to the original steam engines that once powered the bridge bascules, housed in a building close to the south end of the bridge.

A Behind the Scenes tour can be booked in advance, on which it is possible to see the bridge's command centre, from where the raising of the bascules is controlled for a vessel to pass through. The bascules are raised around 900 times a year.

River traffic is now a fraction of what it used to be, but it still takes priority over road traffic. This nearly caused a diplomatic incident in 1996, when the motorcade of United States President Bill Clinton got stuck on Tower Bridge while the bascules were opened unexpectedly. Nowadays 24 hours' notice is required before opening the bridge.

The bridge largely replaced Tower Subway, 400 m to the west, the world's first underground tube railway (1870). Until the bridge was opened, the subway was the shortest way to cross the river from Tower Hill to Tooley Street in Southpark.

A computer system was installed in 2000 to control the raising and lowering of the bascules remotely. Unfortunately this has proved less reliable than desired, resulting in the bridge being stuck in the open or closed positions on a number of occasions (most recently 2 June 2005).

In October 2005 Yvette Fielding and the Most Haunted Live crew investigated Tower Bridge during their hunt for Jack the Ripper.



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