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he drawbridges bascules of Tower Bridge are raised three or four times a day to let boats that still enjoy right of way pass along the river below. Frustrating this may be if you are hurrying north or south you can rest assured that you are in good company. This persistent priority saw American President Bill Clinton separated from his motorcade in 1997 so sailing barge Gladys could pass by on her scheduled journey. In its heyday the bascules were lifted more than 50 times a day which means that every ten or fifteen minutes during daylight traffic would be stopped to allow water vehicles to go about their business on the Thames. But with the ever-pressing pedestrian and car traffic in the city it is estimated that more than forty thousand people now cross the bridge every day. Still the right of way belongs in the water but fortunately the demand of river traffic is much reduced. Tower Bridge is an iconic feature in Londons landscape and helps draw tourists to the city. There is something about it that has come to symbolise London England and Britishness. Shortly after its construction it was considered by some to be brash and pretentious but has since become imprinted on the minds of people at home and overseas as a reflection of the identity of this nation with a grand royal and powerful beauty. According to legend the bridge became an object of desire to tower bridge PORTRAIT Taking a closer look at one of Londons familiar and most-loved landmarks by Alessia Tamasoski a student at Bishop Challoner Girls School 16 THE RIVER SPRING 2016 CULTURE