As part of my ongoing Then & Now series I’m sharing a photo from my grandfather’s collection. In 1960 he took a trip to Europe with his niece and brought her to Greece and London. During that trip he took a few photos of London and this is the first I’m sharing – a beautiful vintage photo of Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge was originally built in 1894 and is one of the most iconic landmarks in London. The design for the bridge was chosen from over 50 submissions and was created by Sir Horace Jones. The crux of the design was that it was meant to be aesthetically reflective of the gothic style but also could open to allow ships passage further along the Thames river. The engineering feat of creating the opening bridge was an incredible undertaking, and there’s a fantastic exhibit detailing how it worked in Tower Bridge should you choose to visit the fantastic exhibit.
It is common for Tower Bridge to be mistaken for London Bridge, which is a far plainer construction a bit further upriver. The name comes from its proximity to the Tower of London, which is located just next to Tower Bridge.
The similarity of the photographs is astounding, but there are some key details that have seemingly changed over the years. If you compare the photo on the left (from 1960) to the photo on the right (from 2017) we can see that the colour scheme and painting have been updated tremendously, lights have been added to the suspensions, and a royal crest added to the now enclosed passenger walkways connecting the two towers. Amazingly there are still some recognizable buildings in the background on the Southbank of the Thames, including the domed building of Butler’s Wharf, to the right of the right tower).
Tower Bridge in 1960 matched the bleak overcast sky with it’s muted tones (not just from the vintage photograph of Tower Bridge, but also in its paint job), but was still spectacular and stunning.
Tower Bridge in 2012 featured a set of Olympic Rings as London was the host of the 2012 Summer Olympics. It had been freshly repainted for the event as well and on a sunny day was a dazzling site.
Tower Bridge in 2017 still had its strong paint job and during this dusk photo shoot it began to show some of the lighting effects that have been added in recent years.
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