Tower Bridge is named after its two impressive towers. It was designed by Wolfe Barry and Horace Jones, the royal architect who also designed the Smithfield Market.
The central section of the bridge can be raised to allow large vessels to pass, though in recent times it is not usually raised more than five times a week.
Tower Bridge was completed in 1894 after only eight years in construction. It was the Corporation of London who decided in 1876 that London Bridge was no longer sufficient to cope with the massive amount of traffic that Victorian London required. The problem the commission faced was that the bridge would need to allow water traffic through and so fifty variations of the current design were submitted. These initial designs can be seen at the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
Tower Bridge was constructed from more than eleven thousand tones of steel and granite blocks that were transported from Cornwall. The power to raise the bridge was originally powered by steam, although fossil fuels are now used.
The Tower Bridge Exhibition has been established for over twenty years and is housed within the structure of the bridge itself.