Victorious at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, the invading Duke of Normandy, William the Conqueror, spent the rest of the year securing his holdings, by fortifying key positions. He founded several castles along the way, but took a circuitous route toward London; only when he reached Canterbury did he turn towards England's largest city. William sent an advance party to prepare the city for his entrance, to celebrate his victory and found a castle; in the words of William's biographer, William of Poitiers, "certain fortifications were completed in the city against the restlessness of the huge and brutal populace. For he [William] realised that it was of the first importance to overawe the Londoners". At the time, London was the largest town in England; the foundation of Westminster Abbey and the old Palace of Westminster under Edward the Confessor had marked it as a centre of governance, and with a prosperous port it was important for the Normans to establish control over the settlement. The fortification that would later become known as the Tower of London was built onto the south-east corner of the Roman town walls, using them as prefabricated defences, with the River Thames providing additional protection from the south.
The station was opened in 1987 as the western terminus of the initial DLR system and the station closest to central London. The underground extension to Bank, which opened in 1991, diverges from the original route between Tower Gateway and Shadwell, the next station to the east. It dives down a steep ramp not far from the eastern end of the platforms, from which it is clearly visible. Tower Gateway is the terminus for the less busy service to Beckton. Journeys to other branches of the DLR normally require a change. In keeping with the DLR's original basic lightweight philosophy, Tower Gateway is a simple elevated terminus. As built it had two tracks and a cross-over. When the extension to Bank opened, its importance was substantially reduced. Before reconstruction it had a fairly narrow central platform, and a single track leading from the main route to a set of points immediately prior to the platforms. Further major alterations began on 30 June 2008. The station reopened on 2 March 2009, rebuilt as a single-track terminus to enable three-car trains with a platform on each side of the train, one for arriving passengers and the other for departures (the Spanish solution).
Connections: London Buses routes 42, 78, 100 and RV1 and night route N551 serve the station.