Over 100 years ago, the Victorians built a bridge that has become one of London’s most famous landmarks. High level walkways were built to allow people to cross the Thames whilst the Bridge was lifted to let tall ships sail past. Today these Walkways act as viewing galleries, giving visitors the most spectacular views across an ever changing London skyline.
Visitors enter Tower Bridge Exhibition via the North Tower. They are then transported by lift to the top of the Tower (47 metres above the Thames) where they have a unique opportunity to see the Bridge’s steel skeleton from within. A short film explains the history and provenance of the Bridge and then there is the chance to admire the spectacular views – from both covered Walkways. On the east Walkway there are fantastic views of the Docklands and from the west Walkway you can see the new GLA building, the Tower of London, St Paul’s, the city, the Pool of London and Big Ben and the London Eye in the distance. Interactive computerised kiosks and graphic panels explain the significance of the views to visitors, as well as providing more information on the history and building of the Bridge. The interactive material and graphic panels are written in seven languages and an audio loop for the hard of hearing is also in place for the video show.
There is another film to view in the South Tower before descending for the short walk to the historical Engine Rooms, included in your ticket price.
Victorian Engine Rooms
These provide a fascinating insight into late 19th century engineering. Installed for the completion of Tower Bridge in 1894, these huge, and beautifully maintained, coal-driven engines were used to power the thousands of bascule Bridge lifts performed until 1976. Although lifts are now operated by electricity, the original steam engines are still in place. The Engine Rooms give visitors a chance to experiment with models demonstrating the technology behind the Bridge. There are also some amazing photographs of the Bridge throughout its lifetime – including a revealing picture of the heavy steel structure of the Bridge as the stone cladding was installed over it.