June 21, 1886
In England, construction of the Tower Bridge in London began when a foundation stone was put in place during an extravagant Monday afternoon ceremony attended by royalty. The need for a bridge spanning across the River Thames at that location had become urgent as commercial development in London’s East End grew dramatically during the course of the 19th century.
The Tower Bridge, which took its name from the nearby Tower of London, was designed to meet the demands of heavy traffic. Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, represented his mother Queen Victoria at the laying of the foundation stone. He was accompanied by his wife Princess Alexandra and their children Prince Albert Victor and Princesses Louise, Victoria, and Maud.
After arriving at the location for the new bridge, Prince Edward made some brief remarks to those in attendance. “All must allow that this work, when completed, will be one of great public utility and general convenience as tending materially to relieve the congested traffic across this noble river,” he proclaimed.
A crane was subsequently used to move the foundation stone – specifically, a block of Portland stone weighing more than five tons (4.5 metric tons) – onto the place where an abutment of one of the arches for the bridge would be located. The stone contained a vase serving as a time capsule that held what the Lloyd’s Weekly London Newspaper identified as “specimens of the coin of the period and certain documents.”
The combined bascule and suspension bridge, which was completed eight years later and officially opened by Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra, has achieved iconic status over the years as one of London’s most familiar landmarks.
For more information on the Tower Bridge in London, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_Bridge.