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Building was started by William the Conqueror in 1078 but the Tower has been extended and strengthened many times by succeeding monarchs.It has been a fortress, royal residence, an arsenal and more famously a prison.The Clink which burnt down in 1780 gave its name to mean any prison.In the 16th and 17th centuries the area was Londons red light district and the Bishops regulated both the prostitutes and the brothels that operated there.It has twice survived great fires and has witnessed the trials of traitors, the welcoming of heroes and glittering state occasions.

The Inns of Court (Grays Inn and Lincolns Inn are the others), have housed barristers chambers for over 500 years.This obelisk was first erected in Egypt by Pharaoh Thotmes lll around 1500BC.It was presented to the British people in 1819 in recognition of Nelsons victory over the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.The column stands 202ft (62m) high, the same distance as from the starting point of the fire in Pudding Lane.It is also the tallest free-standing stone column in the world.

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