The Tower of London as we know it today is a popular tourist attraction that is visited by more than 2 million people from around the world every year, but before that it has served as home for the Crown Jewels, the Royal Mint, a menagerie, a fortress, and most notably one of Britain’s most notorious prisons.
Throughout London’s tumultuous history the Tower of London has played a starring role. One of the most historically significant uses for the tower was during the times that it served as a prison. The Tower had not only an extensive list of high profile (and presumably innocent) prisoners, it was also known for its brutal and numerous torture chambers housed inside that were used as both punishments and means to interrogate.
Perhaps one of the most famous of those imprisoned in the tower was the second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (1546) who was accused of infidelity, incest, and even seducing the king into a cursed marriage. However it is believed that true reason for her imprisonment and eventual beheading was due to her inability to birth a male heir to the throne.
Other well-known high profile inmates of the Tower include; Sir Thomas More (1534), Anne Askew (1546), and second command Nazi party member Rudolf Hess (1941).
Today the mint, the jewels, the prisoners, and the menagerie are long gone, but one thing that still remains is the ravens which legend has it will cause the Tower and the Kingdom to fall should they ever leave. The Tower of London is required to have on its grounds at least 7 captive ravens at all times. It isn’t any wonder that The Tower of London is considered by many to be one of the most iconic buildings in all of London. Tourists and locals alike are able afford themselves the ultimate hands on history lesson when taking advantage of these stimulating and truly moving tours.