Making the Bridge Sing

The cook, the plants and the Bridge - Making the Bridge sing

To celebrate 125 years of Tower Bridge, artist Di Mainstone was commissioned to create a film exploring a make-believe world caught between dream and reality.

Who is Hannah Griggs - Image of Hannah Griggs

Hannah Griggs was a cook here in the 1910s, and she was also a keen gardener. In the film, Di Mainstone imagines Hannah to be experimenting with music. She creates the sounds of the Bridge to help her plants grow. It seems to be working.

Listen to Hannah's world


Left: Image of Victoria style food cans holding flowers. Right: Stylised image of Tower Bridge overgrown with flowers

Watch the shortened version of Di’s film

Based on truth

The idea for the film began when one of the Tower Bridge team overheard a conversation on the Bridge one day. Susan Belcher was telling her friends the tale of her grandmother Hannah Griggs, and how she became the Cook-in-Service to the Bridge Master. Within days the Bridge’s Exhibition Manager was in touch and Susan shared Hannah Griggs’ story, and how she lived after spending several years in the workhouse that eventually became St Olave’s Hospital.

Today Hannah Griggs, along with other former workers, is commemorated with a plaque on the pavement of the Bridge.

Making the Bridge sing, stylised text with ivy vines over the image

Artist Di Mainstone has invented a phantastical world, where Tower Bridge sings and nature takes over. She has created instruments to ‘play’ the bridge and recorded their magical sounds.

Storyboard sketches for making the Bridge Sing

1. Storyboard sketch showing piano hammers.

2. Concept sketch of Hannah using a large bow to play the Bridge.

3. Drawing for an imaginary music box making music from the rivets.

Get creative with the BridgeIn Di Mainstone’s film, Hannah Griggs creates magical sounds by playing different parts of the bridge with unusual, invented instruments.

Activities to try at home


Make MusicHave a go at making your own musical instruments from things you find, and make your own experimental music.

Download music activity sheet

Nurture NatureLet nature take over your home and inspire your creativity. Create origami flowers and try to grow new food from kitchen scraps!

Download nature activity sheet

Animate this!Fancy a bigger challenge? Turn Tower Bridge into a unique animation using found natural treasures.

Download art activity sheet

We’d love you to share your creations with us.

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Stylised horizontal rule