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Photographer's Note

Two days ago, on 1st July, Britain experienced its hottest July day on record with temperatures reaching 36.7°C at Heathrow Airport.

This picture, however, was taken in May but this was also a very warm day in London and this little group of people were relaxing with a cool beer or two under the south end of Tower Bridge, probably the most iconic of the bridges in London which cross the River Thames.

Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a remarkable example of Victorian architecture and engineering, being 800 feet (244 m) in length with two towers each 213 feet (65 m) high, built on piers. The central span of 200 feet (61 m) between the towers is split into two equal bascules or leaves, which can be raised to an angle of 86 degrees to allow river traffic to pass. The bascules, weighing over 1,000 tons each, are counterbalanced to minimise the force required and allow raising in five minutes.

The two side-spans are suspension bridges, each 270 feet (82 m) long, with the suspension rods anchored both at the abutments and through rods contained within the bridge's upper walkways. The pedestrian walkways are 143 feet (44 m) above the river at high tide.

For those who feel that the colours of the metalwork of the bridge are just a bit too gaudy, the metalwork was actually originally painted in a fairly dull mid-green colour in Victorian times. The present colour scheme dates from 1977 when those parts of the bridge were brightly painted in red, white and blue to mark the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

You can see a larger version of this photograph on "beta" TE here.

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1780 W: 411 N: 6453] (26146)
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