Reviewed by Emma Rogers
The famous Tower Bridge in London was built in 1894 to aid the crossing across the Thames when there were too many people using London Bridge. The Tower Bridge Exhibition hasn’t been open as long as the bridge has, but the structure was built with the East and West walkway and hollow towers which make up the interior of the exhibition. You’re taken to the top of the North Tower by lift where the museum tour starts, giving details of the background to why there was a need for a new bridge in the late Victorian era, then details the different designs that were submitted. Unusually, the original design and the finished product aren’t that dissimilar. There’s also one side of the walkway, 40+m above the road, which displays different famous bridges around the world. Half way along each walkway, the floor becomes a glass floor where most people take selfies of themselves above the London traffic!
After the walkways, the stairs lead down to an interesting art gallery exhibition from the resident artist, then the ground floor has an animation of how the bridge was built and life stories of those who worked there. The bridge was originally powered by coal, but in 1976 this all changed to electric, but the engines are still there to view, and still working! The Engine Rooms are slightly down the road on the South side of the river, so after a little walk, the tour begins and you see how it all worked. This area was not as interesting as the life stories, nor did it go into detail about how the engines worked apart from a few diagrams, but you do at least get to see the engine working.
The whole exhibition takes around 2 hours, although I wouldn’t say this was for very young children because of the height and the fact that you have to read all of the boards yourself – there’s no guided tour and not much interactive stuff. The engine room might be interesting to older children who are interested in mechanics but otherwise, it’s just walking through. There is a good gift shop at the end, although no cafe on site.
Perhaps fit this one in around going to the Tower of London or as part of a longer day out.
Adult £9.80 / Child (5-15 years) £4.20 / Family tickets from £15.30
Book online for disctounts (£8.70/£3.80)
For more information or to book tickets online visit www.towerbridge.org.uk.
Tower Bridge Exhibition, Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP