Tower Bridge Exhibition Celebrates Unsung Heroes of the Bridge

  • 'Walk of Fame' to be unveiled in Spring 2017 to commemorate unsung heroes of Tower Bridge
  • Stories of the individuals who built and ran the iconic Bridge explored in beautifully designed decorative plaques
  • Personal histories behind the Bridge explored in new historic Victorian Engine Rooms interpretation

To commemorate the living legacy of the most famous bridge in the world, Tower Bridge Exhibition will unveil a brand new focus on the human history behind the Bridge in April 2017, celebrating some of the unsung heroes throughout its 120-year history. Starting with the installation of a ‘Walk of Fame’ on the Bridge, this celebration of the fascinating living heritage and the faces behind one of London’s best-loved symbols will continue into the redevelopment of the historic Victorian Engine Rooms, revealing some of the personal stories behind this iconic landmark.

From its cooks to coal stokers, labourers to bridge drivers and everyone in between, the names of 40 workers – selected especially to illustrate the diversity of roles at Tower Bridge – have been cast onto plaques, and a further 40 decorative plaques been designed and cast by local school pupils from City of London Academy, Southwark and the London Sculpture Workshop and laid into the south east pavement as a permanent tribute to some of the workers from across the nation who both built and ran the Bridge, celebrating their extraordinary contribution to the history of the capital.

Meet the cook Hannah Griggs, who joined Tower Bridge as the first female worker in 1911 alongside the first Bridgemaster Bertie Angelo Cator and many more for a unique glimpse of the people behind the iconic Bridge. Uncover some of these workers’ personal stories in the historic Engine Rooms’ new permanent interpretation, also unveiled this April. Set among the original steam engines that once powered the mighty bridge lifts, the new permanent exhibition will feature life-size photographs of five of the workers, alongside oral histories from their relatives and stories told by more former Bridge staff. The new content will also explain the pioneering process behind an iconic bridge lift, showing how it worked then and also how the modern mechanics work, through an innovative bespoke process model, interactive displays, games and original objects from the lifespan of the Bridge.

As part of a wider-three year plan to develop Tower Bridge Exhibition’s interpretation, these human stories will be an integral theme, a common strand that unites the different elements of the Bridge.  The Engine Rooms’ new interpretation, developed in conjunction with Bright 3D, will enable millions of visitors to meet the ordinary people who designed, built, and operated one of London’s best-loved landmarks.

Dirk Bennett, Exhibition Development Manager at Tower Bridge Exhibition, says: “The ‘Walk of Fame’ and newly refurbished Engine Rooms are a reminder of 120 years of human history on the Bridge since its construction and a celebration of the special place this city holds in the hearts of people all around the globe. We are really excited to commemorate the capital’s heritage by bringing both past and present London together and putting Tower Bridge back into the public conscience as a crucial part of our cultural heritage.”

Notes to Editors:

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  • Tower Bridge was the creation of architect Sir Horace Jones and civil engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry. It took eight years to complete and was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra)

o   Summer Opening Hours: April - September 10:00 - 17:30 (last admission)

o   Winter Opening Hours: October - March 09:30 - 17:00 (last admission)

  • Admission prices for Tower Bridge Exhibition:
    • Adults: £9.80
    • Children aged 5-15: £4.20
    • Groups of 10 or more adults: £8.30
    • Concessions: £6.80
    • Family tickets from £15.30
    • Under 5s free
  • The nearest underground stations are London Bridge or Tower Hill
  • Starting the journey in the Bridge’s North Tower, visitors are taken back in time with never-seen-before film footage of Victorian London and the first ever recorded bridge lift.
  • Visit the Glass Floor up on the high-level Walkways, which gives visitors a unique perspective of London 42 metres above the Thames. “Look up on London” – a mirror installed over the West Walkway’s Glass Floor offers visitors a dizzying experience of the city. Guests are able to tread on the glass floor panels whilst traffic passes beneath their feet. It can withstand the weight equivalent to one elephant or two London Black Cabs. 
  • Download the Family Trail appto explore Tower Bridge Exhibition like never before with an innovative app and activity packed booklet for 5-10 year olds.
  • Offering refreshed collections and bespoke ranges of gifts and souvenirs, the Tower Bridge Gift Shop reopened to the public in November 2016 following a 6 week redevelopment.
  • Tower Bridge is owned, funded and managed by The City of London.
  • Winner of the 2016 Sandford Award for Heritage Education. This prestigious award recognizes the importance of formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities offered to schools by heritage sites.