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Published: 19 September 2020

By Andy Ross

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Tower Bridge

In 1894, Tower Bridge, spanning the Thames near the Tower of London, opened and quickly became a symbol of the city.

The bridge took eight years to construct and its statistics are impressive. 240 metres long, 65 metres high in the towers, one of which is pictured left, and each bascule - isn't that a good word? - in the central, raising portion weighs 1000 tons. If you would like to know more about the technical aspects of the bridge, head on over to the official website or to this website if you want to read about the intriguing link of the bridge to the Royal Parachute Regiment.

The bridge is fascinating to visit, not least because of the craftsmanship that went into its construction, and now is a good time to do it. With fewer tourists in the capital, the attractions are empty and open. The thrill of being the only visitors on the upper walkway a few days ago was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is not only visitors who are inspired by the structure. Artists too have been using it as a motif, a metaphor and now as a musical instrument!

Di Mainstone uses her fashion designer education to make work that uses film to explore , among other things, bridges. You may know her Human Harp project. Inspired by Hannah Griggs, cook to the Bridge Master from 1911, Di's project took Hannah's passion for plants to create two films, using the bridge as instrument. The first, short film shows Hannah making the bridge sing while the second explores Hannah's story through the eyes of a young girl called Rose. The first film is showing in the birdge itself while the second may be showing near you soon because it is being submitted to festivals. Read more about the artist and project here, and see a short film about the making of the piece here. You can also see a short piece from the artist that illustrates the experience of standing on the glass way up on the walkway. Not for the faint-hearted!