WORK 31/494: The White Tower, Tower of London

The White Tower is the oldest part of the Tower of London, built in 1066. It is also one of the oldest buildings in London. It was built by William, Duke of Normandy shortly after he invaded England and defeated the English king, Harold. The White Tower is a good example of Norman style architecture which looks heavy, uses large blocks of stone and features rounded windows and arches. Look carefully at the document entitled ‘Sketch for proposed restoration of North side of White Tower’.

Fascinating Fact: The Tower of London has been used to store the Crown Jewels for hundreds of years but did you know that from the 1230’s, the Tower was used to house a zoo? King Henry III had lions, elephants and even a polar bear in his collection! In the 1830’s the animals were finally moved to a new home, now known as London Zoo.

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  • The White Tower was built in 1066. This sketch was made in 1857 when the Government decided to restore and strengthen the building. Can you work out how old the White Tower was in 1857? How old is the White Tower today?
  • Why do you think the White Tower is still standing today? Look carefully at the sketch- what materials do you think it was built from?
  • Look at the size and shape of the windows. What do you notice about the windows in the tall towers on each side of the building. Why were they designed so small and narrow?
  • What words would you use to describe this building? You might like to choose words from this list or think up some of your own…..
    Welcoming, scary, pretty, magnificent, grand, forbidding, inspiring, protective.
  • What was the function of this building? (Clue: William built the White Tower shortly after he had successfully invaded England from Normandy in France. Many people in England were unhappy that he was the new king).