National Geographic : 1915 Sep
Photo by F. J. Koch WHEN THE KING GOES ABROAD When the King leaves his house on state occasions a double guard is drawn up-the interior guard made up of Royal Fusiliers and the outer of plain London "bobbies" he evidently doubted its fidelity. He pulled down a bit of its eastern wall and even, encroached upon its territory to make room for his great White Tower, the keep of the huge fortress, the most picturesque building in the Tower of to day. London did not like it very well. Sentries on the Tower or wall could look right down upon the mean little wooden houses, the thatched roofs, the narrow, dirty streets of the Saxon town; could check the least uprising ere it had well begun. But what could London do but endure! If a threat, the Tower was also an inspiration. Under Norman rule, wooden London became stone London, a feat greatly aided by the fire of 1077, "a fire such as never was before since London was founded," which cleared the ground. PALACE, PRISON, ARSENAL The Tower - the whole fortress is called that, never "castle," for some rea- son unexplained-is today vastly differ ent from that of the Normans. Then it was a royal residence as well as a strong hold; now it is a government arsenal and barracks. Its 13 acres are yet ringed with the double walls of the Normans, strengthened by many towers, and the moat, now all soft, sunny turf fit for tennis courts, could be flooded at need. There are several huge modern barracks in the enclosure, officers' quarters and guardhouse, the equipment of a fairly efficient fortress; but, unthinking of wars to come, we have always seen it with eyes turned toward the past. It is as a state prison that history knows it best; therein lies its greatest interest. The White Tower has its name from nothing more poetic than whitewash spread upon it in 1240. It is 107 x 118 feet, 92 feet high, and its walls are 13 feet thick at their thinnest. Sir Christo pher Wren "restored" it and altered four of its Norman windows to a "classical"