The River Thames plays a very important part in London’s history. Some of its most famous landmarks are located along its banks. If you take a boat trip from Ham House in the West to The Thames flood barrier in the East, you’ll see the Powerstation and peace garden at Battersea, the Houses of Parliament, and The Tower of London. You’ll also come across its most famous bridge, Tower Bridge.
This iconic spot is not as old as you’d think. It started in the Victorian heyday of 1886 and was finished in 1894, so it’s only just over one hundred years old! It was built to have better access to the East end of London, whose Docks were starting to bring in a considerable amount of trade.
The most impressive thing about the bridge is that it can be raised to allow tall ships through. The clever engineers managed to achieve this without the use of coal and steam. Instead, they opted to use hydraulics. Pressurised water was added and drained to move the great wheels that opened the bridge. You might have thought they’d need a Hydraulic Power Unit like those from Hydra Products, but the directed ebb and flow of the Thames was more than enough. The system was replaced in 1974, but it stayed based on hydraulics. Now it uses an oil-based fluid as opposed to a water one. This keeps the system working for longer.« Back