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Tower of London has a rich and varied history

Published: Thursday 19th of September 2013

The Tower of London has always played a special part in British culture. It is one of the city's most famous fortresses, and has seen service as a royal palace, prison, armoury and even a zoo. 

It was constructed over 900 years ago by William the Conqueror, and has certainly stood the test of time.

It has seen its fair share of unlucky, famous residents during its time, including Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn, and Lady Jane Grey, who was executed under the orders of Mary I.

One of the most treasured aspects of the tower however, has to be the crown jewels. The treasures are still on display for visitors to see, and it is the famous beefeaters tasked with the job of guarding them as well as showing visitors some of the attraction's highlights.

Talking of beefeaters, we tracked one down to ask him about the highlights of the tower and his favourite moments on the job.

Dickie Dover, yeoman warder at the Tower of London, has been working at the tower for 14 years and loves every moment of it.

We asked him about his best moments and he had this to say: "I enjoy doing guided tours with the public, that is my favourite part. You meet people from all over the world and you can share actual places that you have been with them. The public tend to like it when you've been to places that they come from.

"The history of the tower and its connections with the fabric of the nation sets it apart from anywhere else really."

And there is no shortage of famous faces either. Mr Dover has met personalities such as Bruce Willis, John Stone and Sarah Jessica Parker during his time.

He added: "Tony Hadley was here the other day. We've also had Putin here and Obama's wife, Michelle was here with the children once."

So what are the most historically significant aspects of the tower? According to Mr Dover, both the White Tower and Beauchamp Tower.

The White Tower is the huge and magnificent stone building in the middle of the site and is home to a variety of ever-changing exhibitions of historic and royal artefacts.

And the Beauchamp Tower stands as a real testament to British heritage with walls covered in graffiti left by the Tudor prisoners.

The ground floor houses the 'Prisoners of the Tower' exhibition.

But when it comes to the tower, although people know bits of its history here and there, very people know its full history, according to Mr Dover.

He commented: "I think people are very aware of the standalone history, such as the execution of Anne Boleyn, or the execution of Queen Catherine Howard. 

"But it is about being able to inform them in a way that enables them to string those events together to give them an overall view of the history as opposed to individual events. We like to fill in the blanks with some of the history really so they get insight into what happened."

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