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Tower Bridge is the famous suspension bridge in London. Tourists have been known to think it is actually called London Bridge, from the nursery rhyme of the same name, but it isn't. London Bridge is a small, unassuming bridge further up the river. Tower Bridge is impressive, a real landmark in the city, and connects the north and south banks of the river.
Its name comes from the nearby Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are kept. One of the more enduring legends about the place concerns a certain Robert McCuloch, the man who bought the old London Bridge in1968, and transported it to Arizona. According to the legend, he believed he was buying Tower Bridge. In later years though, Mr McCuloch denied the whole thing, maintaining that he knew exactly what he was buying.
Even now the bridge is an extremely important crossing point over the river. In total, a staggering 40,000 people travel across its length every day.
The segments of the bridge that move are called bascules. They are controlled by a sophisticated process and are raised up roughly 1000 times a year. Obviously, river traffic is much reduced nowadays, but when boats and ships need to pass through, they are afforded top priority. Any boats coming through have to inform the operators of the bridge twenty-four hours in advance.
It has to be said that Tower Bridge is one of the more impressive landmarks in the city, especially at night. Looking at it when the lights are blazing one is reminded of the river trade that brought the city its fame and prominence.