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The Tower of London: The History of England’s Famous Landmark

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*Includes pictures *Describes the Tower and the historical events that occurred there *Includes footnotes and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents The Tower of London is one of the most historic sites in all of England, and still one of the most popular. All around is the modern City of London, one of the world's most prosperous and power financial *Includes pictures *Describes the Tower and the historical events that occurred there *Includes footnotes and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents The Tower of London is one of the most historic sites in all of England, and still one of the most popular. All around is the modern City of London, one of the world's most prosperous and power financial districts, but the Tower is still a daunting structure that looms across the landscape. Not a single structure but a vast network of medieval and early modern fortifications, it anchors the southeastern end of the old City and controls access to the River Thames and, through it, London's connection to the sea. While the both the City and the Thames are often obscured by the walls once visitors are inside the Tower, they are inextricably tied to the building, giving the Tower its entire reason for existence. Even today, taking a tour of the Tower can seemingly bring its history to life. Inside the visitor center are replicas of a crown, an executioner's axe and similar artifacts, but for most visitors, this is just the start. After they cross a small courtyard and approach the first gate, known as the Middle Tower, they come to a stone bridge over a now-dry moat and enter the castle itself through the Byward Tower. The Tower, like many fortresses of its day, was built in concentric rings, so inside the outer wall is a narrow strip of land before the inner walls. Long, narrow buildings line the inside of the outer wall, and to the left along Mint Street these structures once housed the operation of the Royal Mint, making all of the coins of the realm. From there, most visitors continue straight along, typically guided by one of the colorfully-dressed Yeoman Guards (the famous "Beefeaters"). Under the watch of the Bell Tower, they continue along the south face of the inner wall, on Water Lane, and just ahead is the famed Traitor's Gate; while today the area around here is paved and dry, in earlier times this was a "watergate" that allowed boats entry to the fortress. It was so named because this was the entrance by which prisoners (often traitors) entered the fortress, often never to leave. Ahead is Wakefield Tower, the entrance to the inner courtyards and a space that can be rented for small banquets and private dinners. Inside the inner courtyards, visitors get a good first look at the White Tower, the 11th century Norman castle at the heart of the Tower (and the original "Tower" the entire complex is named for). Built of distinctive white stone, it has been a beacon of royal power for centuries. It is four stories tall and at points has walls of up to 15 feet thick, with towers on the four corners that have cupolas atop them (added much later than the original structure). Within the Tower is an impressive collection of medieval armor and arms, as well as the well-preserved St. John's Chapel. Directly behind the White Tower is the Waterloo Block, also known as the Jewel House. A perennial favorite of visitors, the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are stored here when not in use. In the southeast corner of the inner courtyard (the "Inner Ward") is a charming green space backed by lovely Tudor structures whose calm belies their bloody history. This is the Tower Green which was the location of the executions of all of those prisoners who were given "Private" deaths (as opposed to a "Public" death which occurred outside the walls on Tower Hill before the London mob). Ultimately, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the Tower without understanding its context. Like all fortresses, it was built to control and protect its surroundings, and the history of the Tower is bound up in the mutual histories of London and the Monarchy.


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*Includes pictures *Describes the Tower and the historical events that occurred there *Includes footnotes and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents The Tower of London is one of the most historic sites in all of England, and still one of the most popular. All around is the modern City of London, one of the world's most prosperous and power financial *Includes pictures *Describes the Tower and the historical events that occurred there *Includes footnotes and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents The Tower of London is one of the most historic sites in all of England, and still one of the most popular. All around is the modern City of London, one of the world's most prosperous and power financial districts, but the Tower is still a daunting structure that looms across the landscape. Not a single structure but a vast network of medieval and early modern fortifications, it anchors the southeastern end of the old City and controls access to the River Thames and, through it, London's connection to the sea. While the both the City and the Thames are often obscured by the walls once visitors are inside the Tower, they are inextricably tied to the building, giving the Tower its entire reason for existence. Even today, taking a tour of the Tower can seemingly bring its history to life. Inside the visitor center are replicas of a crown, an executioner's axe and similar artifacts, but for most visitors, this is just the start. After they cross a small courtyard and approach the first gate, known as the Middle Tower, they come to a stone bridge over a now-dry moat and enter the castle itself through the Byward Tower. The Tower, like many fortresses of its day, was built in concentric rings, so inside the outer wall is a narrow strip of land before the inner walls. Long, narrow buildings line the inside of the outer wall, and to the left along Mint Street these structures once housed the operation of the Royal Mint, making all of the coins of the realm. From there, most visitors continue straight along, typically guided by one of the colorfully-dressed Yeoman Guards (the famous "Beefeaters"). Under the watch of the Bell Tower, they continue along the south face of the inner wall, on Water Lane, and just ahead is the famed Traitor's Gate; while today the area around here is paved and dry, in earlier times this was a "watergate" that allowed boats entry to the fortress. It was so named because this was the entrance by which prisoners (often traitors) entered the fortress, often never to leave. Ahead is Wakefield Tower, the entrance to the inner courtyards and a space that can be rented for small banquets and private dinners. Inside the inner courtyards, visitors get a good first look at the White Tower, the 11th century Norman castle at the heart of the Tower (and the original "Tower" the entire complex is named for). Built of distinctive white stone, it has been a beacon of royal power for centuries. It is four stories tall and at points has walls of up to 15 feet thick, with towers on the four corners that have cupolas atop them (added much later than the original structure). Within the Tower is an impressive collection of medieval armor and arms, as well as the well-preserved St. John's Chapel. Directly behind the White Tower is the Waterloo Block, also known as the Jewel House. A perennial favorite of visitors, the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are stored here when not in use. In the southeast corner of the inner courtyard (the "Inner Ward") is a charming green space backed by lovely Tudor structures whose calm belies their bloody history. This is the Tower Green which was the location of the executions of all of those prisoners who were given "Private" deaths (as opposed to a "Public" death which occurred outside the walls on Tower Hill before the London mob). Ultimately, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the Tower without understanding its context. Like all fortresses, it was built to control and protect its surroundings, and the history of the Tower is bound up in the mutual histories of London and the Monarchy.

30 review for The Tower of London: The History of England’s Famous Landmark

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christine Cazeneuve

    Short but sweet I would have rated it higher but like others the major error of naming Lady Jane as Henry book's wife is hard to overlook. History is interesting and pictures are beautiful. Short but sweet I would have rated it higher but like others the major error of naming Lady Jane as Henry book's wife is hard to overlook. History is interesting and pictures are beautiful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Great overview on the Tower of London - listened to this the day before we visited. Loved the historical context, which made the visit so much more meaningful than just looking at the displays. Recommended (even if you're not visiting, these are quick reads on history). Great overview on the Tower of London - listened to this the day before we visited. Loved the historical context, which made the visit so much more meaningful than just looking at the displays. Recommended (even if you're not visiting, these are quick reads on history).

  3. 5 out of 5

    James D

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jill Campbell

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vickie

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rick Backo

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Miller

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Smith

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nayda Jiménez-Pérez

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Cothrum

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

  12. 5 out of 5

    sharon k camarco

  13. 4 out of 5

    Troy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  15. 5 out of 5

    adrian tee

  16. 4 out of 5

    losira13gmail.com

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  19. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey James Jr

  20. 5 out of 5

    mossflowers

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peter Ferst

  22. 5 out of 5

    peter aitchison

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Tolin Scheper

  24. 4 out of 5

    Taesu Kim

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

  26. 5 out of 5

    George

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kl

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Lashley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Wigley

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