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Wednesday, January 18, 2012



 It's not very often that I share or copy other people's work on my blog. I've never posted anything that is not fully and completely Canadian either. But this year we will all be celebrating a few very important events in the history of this beautiful and under stated land called Canada. And we have our roots. This posting was shared with me by my Mum. I love the images. They are historic, imposing and a significant realization of what we are all capable of. How many things do we build now, hoping and believing that they will stand beyond the next generation? Be they structures, ideologies or symbols of our longings for the preservation of our cultures, some things, some ideas, and some dreams do last.                                           


Pictures of the Tower Bridge during construction found dumped in a skipThis is one of the London 's most beloved landmarks as you've never seen her before.
Stripped down to her underwear, the never before seen pictures of the Tower Bridge -- one of the world's most recognisable structures -- have been unveiled after the stash of hundred-year-old prints were found in a skip. 

Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the bridge's foundation, the 50 sepia photos reveal in incredible detail the ingenuity behind one of the British capital's most popular tourist destinations, which was the first bridge of its kind in the world.  





Never seen before: 

Development:   Photographs show the progress in the construction process, from basic structures to something easily recognisable as the Tower Bridge as we know it today


Unique:  Many of the 50 sepia prints are in good condition, despite dating back to 1892.   Several are even dated, making it possible to trace the progress in construction

  Although many of the century-old pictures are in a state of disrepair, around 20 are in good condition.   Many of the 12 by 10 snaps are dated and clearly show how the bridge was put together over a space of eight years.   Memorable scenes include turn-of-the-century laborers taking orders from a site foreman in a bowler hat and a shot of the bridge's original steam-powered engine room, which could open the bridge in less than a minute.   In one poignant picture flags decorate the body of the bridge and a hand-written pencil note reads:   ‘Note, flags denote Mr Hunter's wedding day’.
   It wasn't until earlier this month, when the owner of the photos mentioned them to his neighbor, City of Westminster tour guide Peter Berthoud that the significance of the find fully emerged.   Mr Berthoud, an expert in the history of London who gives guided tours around famous landmarks including the Tower Bridge , said that he was gobsmacked by the haul.


Stripped down:  The photographs show how the bridge was put together over eight years, revealing why it was nicknamed at the time the ' Wonder Bridge '


Landmark:  The Tower Bridge remains one of the British capital's most iconic structures and a tourist attraction today, 125 years after building started


Sepia to silver screen:  The incomplete Tower Bridge features in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes, where Holmes battles with his adversary Lord Henry Blackwood

  Contrary to popular misconception, the images reveal the bridge is a sturdy steel frame beneath the instantly recognisable stone cladding.   Mr Berthoud said: "When my neighbor gave me a disk with the images on I just couldn't believe it.   I spent hours going through my books to see if these pictures were already around but I couldn't see them anywhere -- they are unique.   Quite simply London 's Tower Bridge is the world's most iconic bridge and it's the only bridge over the Thames which has never needed to be replaced at some point.

Discovery:  Peter Berthoud was gobsmacked when his neighbour showed him the haul of photos.   He spent hours going through books to find something similar, only to discover they are unique


Transformation:  The bridge took eight years to build and at the time was a landmark feat of engineering, combining elements of a suspension and high level bridge and a bascule

It combines elements of a suspension bridge, a high level bridge and a bascule which allows it to open for ships to pass.   Nothing had ever been made like it before and nothing since.   People are always surprised when I tell them that the Tower Bridge is a steel bridge, as the stone cladding is so recognisable". 



  The 59 year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that after the occupants of the Westminster office building moved out, the album and a number of documents were thrown into a skip outside.  He said: "I took the ledgers to the Tower Bridge Museum because I thought they might have some historical value.

Remarkable find:   The prints reveal in incredible detail the ingenuity behind one of the British capital's most popular tourist attractions and how it was put together


A view of the bridge:  The sturdy steel frame of the Tower Bridge can be seen, before it was covered with its distinctive stone-cladding on the orders of architect John Wolfe-Barry

They included records of the materials and used in the bridge's construction and what they cost.   I told the man at the museum that I had also found some photos but he told me they already had plenty of those.   I didn't know what to do with them so I wrapped them in some brown paper and put them in a bag under the bed".
The pictures of London 's Tower Bridge were found in a skip and then wrapped up in brown paper and put in a carrier bag under a bed.
 


  According to the tour guide, the bridge's original architect, Horace Jones, wanted to clad the bridge in brick but following his death he was succeeded as architect by John Wolfe-Barry, who decreed the bridge should be clad in stone.
  Mr Berthoud said: "My favorite pictures are of the simple, humble guys building the bridge, unaware that what they are making will be so historic.   People are used to seeing images of the Empire State Building being built but this is part of British history being created 50 years earlier".