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London’s Tower Bridge gets LED makeover for Queen's Jubilee and 2012 Olympics

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June 2, 2012

The Tower Bridge lighting system took designers and electricians six months to install (Cr...

The Tower Bridge lighting system took designers and electricians six months to install (Credit: Simon Kennedy)

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London has got quite a summer of celebrations coming up, this week sees the Queen's Jubilee, and it's not long until the London 2012 Olympics. As such there are countless festivities planned across the city … and even the historic landmarks are getting in on the act. Tower Bridge has been kitted out with a new state-of-the-art lighting system to help mark the occasions.

Over the past six months designers and electricians have been scaling the granite ledges and steel suspension chains of London’s landmark Tower Bridge to install some 6,500 feet (2,000m) of energy-efficient LED linear lights, 1,800 LED lamps, and 1,000 junction boxes with 16,500 feet (5,000m) of cable to the 117-year old bridge.

Over the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the lights - which are controlled by computer - will make the famous bridge over the Thames gleam in “diamond” white. Then, when the Olympics begins, the color-changing lights will be used to highlight the Olympic Rings and Paralympic Agitos which will be fitted to the London icon.

The new lighting system is set to cut the landmark’s energy consumption by 40 percent. It was built by the French firm Citelum, which has previously seen its lighting designs illuminate the Eiffel Tower and the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, and used GE architectural LED systems.

Over the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the lights will make the famous bridge over the Thames g...

Over the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the lights will make the famous bridge over the Thames gleam in “diamond” white (Credit: Jason Hawkes)

A spokesperson for GE said its LED technology let designers blend many shades of colors of variable intensity to show off the architectural features of Tower Bridge and enhance the Victorian gothic turrets, stone towers, and walkways. The lighting - which will remain in place for the next 25 years - is funded through a deal between the Mayor, City of London and London 2012 sponsors GE and EDF.

"As London gears up for a summer like no other, this fantastic lighting makeover is another example of how the capital is benefiting from the Games," said Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. "Tower Bridge can now play a starring role in our celebrations, starting off this weekend by being bathed in a stately white light for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee."

Personally we think that if they'd really wanted to do something nice for the Queen, they should have turned Tower Bridge into a classic computer game.

Source: GEReports and EDF Energy

Here's a video of the new Tower Bridge lighting ... and don't worry, you are not going deaf, there is no audio.

About the Author
Simon Crisp Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for Gizmag, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee.   All articles by Simon Crisp
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