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New drawbridge installed in the Tower of London

A new drawbridge has been installed in the Tower of London for the first time since 1978 following five months of construction.

Yeomen Warders oversee the Tower of London's new custom built drawbridge Credit: PA Images

The iconic feature has undergone various adaptions, including the last time it was completely replaced in 1915.

The drawbridge was originally created in 1834, to allow munitions to be brought into the basement, but it was dismantled in 1843 on the orders of the then Constable of the Tower of London, the Duke of Wellington, who deemed it to be noxious.

The working drawbridge, which takes around four minutes to raise, will be used for educational purposes.


Tower of London: "We take the welfare of our ravens very seriously"

The Tower of London say the killing of two of its ravens by foxes was the first time they have been attacked in a number of years, with most of its ravens living long and healthy lives.

In recent years there have been no fatalities due to foxes, a natural raven predator, and the ravens are put to bed each evening in secure enclosures to minimise these risks. However, sadly, in May 2013 a fox captured two of the ravens before they were put to bed.

We take the welfare of the ravens seriously and have been reviewing our current pest control measures.

– Tower of London spokesperson

They say ravens at the Tower usually live longer than those in the wild - with the oldest one on record reaching 44 years.

Improvements for the ravens' facilities at the Tower are being put in place throughout the Autumn, including a redesign of their nighttime enclosure.

Tower of London ravens killed by foxes

The Tower of London is beefing up its pest control measures after two of its resident ravens were killed by foxes - putting the future of the Royal Family in jeopardy according to legend.

One of the Tower's resident ravens watches over some new Beefeater recruits

The birds are known as "Guardians of the Tower" following superstition that there should always be six of them or the monarchy, the kingdom and the Tower itself will fall. King Charles II took the myth so seriously that he made the need for six ravens into a royal decree, which still stands today.

However, it's emerged that two of the ravens were attacked and killed by foxes earlier this year - but luckily the Tower keep eight of them just to be extra safe.

The ravens, named Jubilee and Grip, were snatched just before they were due to be locked in their cages overnight.

Tower of London staff say they are now looking into their measures to protect the ravens, and have since replaced them with two others of the same name.

Tower Beach opens to the public

Over this weekend, the Tower of London will be giving people access to Tower Beach. It's part of the 'Fun on the Foreshore' event being run by the City of London Archaeological Society (COLAS).

Tower of London. Credit: Sophie Duval/EMPICS Entertainment

Weather and tide permitting, the beach will be accessible between 11.30am-1.30pm on 27th July and from 12pm-2pm on 28th July 2013. A team of archaeologists and environmentalists will be accompanying people on the beach, assisting with the identification of finds and answering questions.

They'll also be a host of related activities and games being held between Tower Moat and the river wall from 11am and 4pm on both days.


London dominates categories in Travellers' Choice Awards

Travel website TripAdvisor has announced the winners of its Travellers’ Choice Attractions awards.

In its inaugural year, the awards honour the top attractions worldwide, in the categories of landmarks, parks, museums and amusement and water parks.

London has great cause to celebrate with multiple wins in three of the four categories including the UK’s best park and the city has the second and third best museums.

The Houses of Parliament came 7th in the top ten UK landmarks. Credit: Reuters

London dominates the UK museums list with six in the top 10, whilst the Tower of London comes in at fourth position in the ranking of UK landmarks with the Houses of Parliament taking seventh place.

The results also prove that the Capital is home to some of the best parks in the world with six of the UK’s top 10 located in the city.

St James’ Park is the UK’s number one and also scoops fourth place in Europe and 13th in the world. Credit: Reuters

Anne Boleyn and the Tower of London

Anne became the first Queen to be publicly executed Credit: Tony Harris/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Anne was born between 1501 and 1507, daughter of courtier and diplomat Sir Thomas Boleyn and Elizabeth - daughter ofthe Duke of Norfolk.

In 1522 Anne became lady in waiting to Henry VIII's wife Catherine of Aragon. Henry was tired of his wife - she hadn't produced a male heir - and he showered Anne's family with gifts and titles and asked the Pope to annul his marriage but the Pope refused.

Henry's hand was forced when Anne becamepregnant in 1533. Henry turned his back on the Catholic church, passed the Actof Supremacy and declared himself head of the English Church and the pair weremarried in a secret ceremony. Anne gave birth to Elizabeth - the future Queen.

Queen Elizabeth I (1533 -1603), daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Credit: PA

Anne had two subsequent miscarriages - one aboy - and Henry, desperate for a male heir decided their marriage was cursedand moved on to Anne's lady in waiting, Jane Seymour.

Three years after their marriage, Anne wasaccused of witchcraft and arrested on adultery charges with 5 men - one her ownbrother, Lord George Rochford - and sent to the Tower of London.

Just weeks later, on 19th May, Anne wasbeheaded by a French swordsman, having been spared the axe. She became the firstQueen to be publicly executed.

Her final words, rather than deny her guilt,were in praise of King Henry VIII, stating that, "a more merciful princewas there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord."

Play tells story of Anne Boleyn's 'incestuous' relationship with brother

Suffolk theatre company Red Rose Chain bring Fallen in Love; the story of Anne Boleyn's apparently incestuous relationship with her brother to the site of Anne's trial, execution and final resting place: the Tower of London.

Emma Connell plays Anne Boleyn

The unique theatrical event runs from today to June 16 and will be performed in the Banqueting Suite of the New Armouries.

Jim Malarkey, Head of Visitor and Commercial Services at the Tower of London says:

"Historic Royal Palaces are pleased to welcome Red Rose Chain Theatre Company to the Tower of London for their acclaimed production of Fallen in Love.

The Tower is, of course, the place where Anne Boleyn spent her final days and her bones still rest at the Tower, buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula.

Her love life was in part her downfall, presenting Henry VIII with a convenient and almost certainly contrived reason to persecute his Queen. Could there be a more appropriate setting for this wonderful play?"

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