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Tower of London

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    The Tower of London



    Tower of London (Telegraph 2012)

    Fortress, palace, prison, and even place of execution the Tower of London has filled all these roles and more during nearly a thousand years on the banks of the River Thames in the heart of Great Britain  (National Geographic, 2014).

    The Tower of London is located on Tower Hill in London, England and is an international famous monument. The Tower of London became a World Heritage site in 1988. The White Tower was build in 1066 by William the Conqueror as a demonstration of Norman power.  Located on the River Thames the Tower acts both as a fortress and gateway to the capital. It is the most complete example of an 11th century fortress palace in Europe.  Between the 11th century and the 16th century the many additions were made to the white tower creating the Tower of London. The innovative development of creating a palace within the fortress made the Tower into one of the most influential castles in Europe. The developments where of cutting edge military building technology. The survival of many of the palace building allows a glimpse into the life of a   medieval monarchy within the fortress walls of the Tower (WHC, 2014a).


    Tower of London view from above (Viewfinder, 2002)

    The Tower of London has become not only a symbol of royalty it was also the setting for many key historical events in European history. Edward V and his younger brother where both imprisoned in the Tower and three queens where executed in the fortress. During the Reformation in England both Catholic and Protestant prisoners recorded their experiences during their imprisonment in the Tower making it a place of torture and execution. For both protection and control of the City of London, the Tower has a landmark setting. The Tower had the dual role of providing protection and control the citizens at the same time. The Tower literally ‘towered’ over the City of London.  The Tower has strong associations with State Institutions it was used as the nation’s defense but also to protects is records, coinage and the Crown Jewels (WHC, 2014a).

    Managerial challenges

    One of the major challenges they are facing it preserving the area surrounding the Tower of London and to ensure that it ‘towers’ over the City of London. In 2008 UNESCO even threatened to put the Tower of London on the ‘world heritage in danger’ list because of the development of the ‘shard of glass’ tower, a 66 storey building. UNESCO feels that there should be buffer zone to ensure that future developments do not damage the setting of the Tower of London (Carrel, 2008).  In 2012 UNESCO performed an inspection on the Tower of London and noted that the building is in excellent state and well preserved. They feel however that there is still a lack of protection of the immediate surroundings of the Tower of London. London is a major city and constantly under development, the major issue is to ensure that future developments do not harm the surroundings of the Tower of London (WHC, 2012). The local authorities however are unable to agree on a solution. Another issue is funding as maintaining and preserving the Tower is expensive. Currently most of the funds come from the tickets sold to visitors. The state does not contribute anything (WHC, 2014b).

    Written by Antionia Broeders


    Carrel (2008) UN threatens to act against Britain for failure to protect heritage sites. The Guardian. Published 8 September 2008

    National Geographic (2014) Tower of London. [Online] Available from: on 17-11-2014

    Telegraph (2012) Tower of London hit by theft of valuable keys. [ Online] Available from: Accessed on 18-11-2014

    Viewfinder (2002) Tower of London.  [ Online] Available from: on 18-11-2014

    WHC (2012) SOC report 2012 Tower of London. [ Online] Available from: on 17-11-2014

    WHC (2014a) Tower of London. [Online] Available from: on 16-11-2014

    WHC (2014b)   Periodic Report- Second Cycle Tower of London [Online] Available from:

    Accessed on 17-11-2014

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    Comments (4)

    Viewing 4 of 4 comments: view all
    Dear Antonia,

    Your text has a "catchy" starter, which I really like. The Tower of London is a Site that most of us know about, or have already been to. Therefore, it was nice to get a look behind the scenes. It will be interesting to follow the future development of the tower and whether or not they achieve keeping the surroundings open.
    Did something go wrong with the pictures? They do not appear when I open the page. Maybe you could check on that and also include titles and in-text references for the pictures.

    Thanks for this interesting text!


    Posted 19:34, 18 Nov 2014
    Hi Laura, thank you for your comment. Something did go wrong with my pictures but I have uploaded them again in the text and added the titles and in text references.
    Posted 20:06, 18 Nov 2014
    I really like the way you combined the pictures and your text, it is very easy to read and comprehend. Well done! Do you know who is supposed to take care of those necessary developments that UNESCO is asking after? It seems like there are very strong potential threats to the integrity of the site, how are they being manages, who is involved? Best, Albina
    Posted 23:18, 21 Nov 2014
    Hi Albina, thank you for your comment. Government guidance on protecting the historic environment and World Heritage is described in a "national planning policy framework and circular 07/09". The UK government has different regulations regarding the protection of their heritage sites, however the Local government of the City of London is in charge of the various developments surrouding the Tower of London area. The warning from UNESCO has opened the eyes of the local government of London as some other recent development plans have already been canceled.
    Posted 17:04, 3 Dec 2014
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