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Case studies

The Tower of London drawbridge lifts once more

What better wood than the mighty English oak for the reconstruction of the drawbridge at the Tower of London, one of the most famous symbols of our great heritage and history?

Originally created in 1834, to allow munitions to be brought into the basement of the iconic White Tower from the wharf, the bridge has undergone various adaptations over the years, including the last time it was completely replaced in 1915.

Three specialist companies came together for the recreation of this unique structure: GMT Timber Frames Ltd, NDB Construction and Vastern Timber.

The complexity of the work meant that the drawbridge could not be built off site, as had originally been considered, so a temporary workshop was set up in the dry moat and a team of four carpenters spent six weeks at the Tower, working in all weathers from late January to mid March.


Continuing a long-established partnership, Vastern Timber provided GMT Timber Frames with all the green (wet) oak beams and air dried sawn oak needed for this exciting and challenging project. The timber was cut and graded at Vastern Timber’s Studley Mill and then transported up to London in its raw state where it was then jointed and fitted on to a steel frame.

For a building as quintessentially English as the Tower of London, it was particularly important and appropriate to use locally-sourced oak so Vastern Timber was the ideal supplier. Tom Barnes at Vastern Timber commented:

"We are committed to the protection of our local forests and woodlands so, wherever possible, we source our logs from well-managed, certified British forests which enables us not only to support the future of our trees but also to reduce our road miles and carbon footprint."

The culmination of a project that was years in the planning and months in the construction, the new drawbridge was officially opened on 2nd April 2014 and raised for the first time since the 1970s. The team at Vastern Timber are now in discussion with a firm of specialist furniture makers who have been charged with designing and creating a number of pieces to be housed inside the Tower.

Find out more about GMT Timber Frames at –

Find out more about oak:

2022 Update

Between 2014 and 2018 we supplied lots of English oak for the Tower of London.

Artisans turned it into furniture, staircases, a drawbridge and new raven cages. We recently visited and we can confirm that it’s still looking great today.


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