A wealthy palace, housing the Queen’s official residence; outside where guards hush; holding very valuable lavish jewels; a disreputable and ruthless prison; a grizzly bear ghost wandering at night, and many such eccentric events engulf the famous Tower of London.
History of the Tower of London
A three storied and four corner towers made of caen stone brought from France, His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, was constructed by William the Conqueror in 1066 in England.
It was a prison, where prisoners brought via the river Thames, would enter through the Prisoners Gate; and be publicly and mercilessly executed. There was a brutal torture room called “The Ease” where prisoners like Guy Fawkes had confessed to using gun powder to blow up the Parliament House of England. The Scavengers Daughter is an iron chained vest which prisoners wore and remained kneeled down till the body tingled; in the torture room.
The White Tower, 90 feet tall, was where once royal armory and arms were hidden. Arms like cannons, handguns and even bows and arrows were manufactured here and supplied to the army and navy. The White Tower is an escape hideout for the royal family in times of civil tension. It is also to frighten and scare the commoners.
The Ceremony of Keys takes place at 9:30pm everyday, where the tower is locked by the Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters (part of their salary consisted of beef portions), and keys are delivered to the Queen’s palace. Their scarlet red golden uniforms are made from gold threads which are worn on special occasions; and other times they wear blue. They also act at tour guides to the tower.
King Henry had placed a zoo in there with three leopards, an elephant and a polar bear. It also housed a flying squirrel, a lioness, a zebra, an alligator and a tiger. They created a stench in the Tower of London. The elephant was looked upon as an animal who had no fur, had small eyes and ate with a trunk. The polar bear would be let loose on the river Thames to catch fish. The earliest lion skull came from 1280.
The Crown Jewels
The commanding, deeply spiritual and ethnically momentous Crown Jewels are housed in the Waterloo Barracks here. Queen Elizabeth’s crown has 2800 diamonds including the Kohinoor diamond. 530.2 carat diamond, largest neutral cut diamond, adorns the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. 32 billion dollars of jewels is stored here.
The Royal Mint is located here which housed the first gold coins, and makes coins for the whole of England. William Foxley, a potter, was sleeping here for almost 15 days non stop. Sir Isaac Newton was once the Warden of the Mint who caught counterfeiters.
The Tower of London always kept ravens for good luck. Sadly one of their wings is cut so that they can’t fly. Superstitious people say that if the ravens leave, the kingdom will crumble down. They are fed blood dipped biscuits and raw meat.
5 Interesting Tower of London Facts
- The story “Prince in the Tower” is inspired from the true story of a twelve year old prince who was imprisoned here by his uncle; and later his bones were discovered.
- Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned here for two months before she was crowned.
- Sir Walter Raleigh maintained a garden here when he was a prisoner while writing a book.
- Sir Geoffrey Chaucer supervised the building of the Tower Wharf.
- The password to enter at night in the Tower is changed every 24 hours.
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