The Tower of London has been a fortress, prison and palace during its long and often bloody history. The Tower was started soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066 by William the Conqueror, of stone actually brought from Normandy.
The central, and most impressive of the towers, is known as the White Tower as it was whitewashed in 1241! An early prisoner was the Duke of Orleans, captured in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
|The photo on the right shows the layout of
the tower and its position relative to Tower Bridge.
On the right you can see Traitors Gate, the arched hole in the castle wall, that leads directly onto the River Thames. Prisoners could be taken in and out of this gate, without the problems of leading them through the streets of London
Anne Boleyn (wife of Henry VIII) , Lady Jane Grey (pretender to the throne), Earl of Essex and Duke Of Monmouth were all executed at the Tower among many others.
The Royal Mint was based here until 1834 (it stops the wrong people getting their hands on the money), and today the Crown Jewels are housed here in a top security setting.
Tower Bridge, right beside the Tower of London, was built in the last century as the most seaward of London's bridges over the Thames. Its position meant that large ships had to pass under it to enter the Port of London. They could not have passed under a conventional bridge, Tower Bridge got round the problem by having roadways that could be raised like a castle drawbridge
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