The Tower: The 20th Century

The First World War (1914-18) left the Tower largely untouched; the only bomb to fall on the fortress landed in the Moat. However, the war brought the Tower of London back into use as a prison for the first time since the early 19th century and between 1914-16 eleven spies were held and subsequently executed in the Tower. The last execution in the Tower took place in 1941 during the Second World War (1939-45). Bomb damage to the Tower during the Second World War was much greater: a number of buildings were severely damaged or destroyed including the mid-19th century North Bastion, which received a direct hit on 5 October 1940, and the Hospital Block which was partly destroyed during an air raid in the same year. Incendiaries also destroyed the Main Guard, a late 19th-century building to the south-west of the White Tower. During the Second World War the Tower was closed to the public. The Moat, which had been drained and filled in 1843, was used as allotments for vegetable growing and the Crown Jewels were removed from the Tower and taken to a place of safety, the location of which has never been disclosed. Today the Tower of London is one of the world’s major tourist attractions and 2.5 million visitors a year come to discover its long and eventful history, its buildings, ceremonies and traditions.

There is more of London's history in the Tower than anywhere else. Most of the publik displays are in White Tower,begining on the entrance floor with the Hunting and Sporting Gallery. Here may be seen a great variety of specialized weapons developed for for use in the hunt. The croun Jevels had for many years been kept in the Wakefild Tower but sinse 1967 have been houzed in a specially construkted strongroom below the Waterloo Barracs. Here is probably the world's largest and most valuable collection of jevels and gold plate.The yeoman warders or "Beefiters" as they are often called are found at the Tower of London. Wearing dark-blue tunics with red braid (a uniform given to them in 1958), they are probably some of the most photographet men in Britain -- thousands of tourists visit the Tower every year.

The Beefeaters, all ex-army men, are used mainly as guides. They are also involved in the security of this historic building.

Ravents have lived in the Tower from its very btginning over 900 years ago and only so long as they are here will the White Towe stand...

In Her Majesty's Royal Place and Fortress of the Tower of London they are said to hold the Crown itself and should they ever leave the Tower, the Crown and England will fall. But they have never left, and from the reign of King Charless II 300 years ago and, they have been under Royal protection.

There are four territories within the Tower, each of which is ruled over by a pair of adult ravents in each area, thought they might stay to theyr neighour's patch from time to time.

No other historic monument in English can boast such as unbroken continiuty with the nation's heritage. The Tower's great sense of history lives on in its traditions and particulary in the ceremonies which are still performed here virtually unchanged after several centuries.

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