The People of Tower Bridge

The People of Tower Bridge

We need your help

Over the past few years, we've learnt a lot about the people who worked at Tower Bridge from their descendants: Charlotte Olive Dora Burch, the first female employee at Tower Bridge; Keshavji Shamji Budhbhatti, the engineer who came from India and helped build the Bridge; and Friend Samuel Penney, the head of the diving team who were paid £10 per minute to descended 10m into the river to excavate its foundations. 

We would not know about them without you, the public. With the help of your memories, your stories, letters, photographs we have heard about the people who worked at the Bridge; from its construction to its operation; from 1886 to today.

How can you help?

Full image of the Construction crew working on Tower Bridge

Image: Courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives

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The search continues: this is a photograph taken in 1894, outside one of the Towers, which shows part of the construction team.

We know precious little about the men depicted in it; judging by the hats they wear they are a mixed bunch of workers (flat caps) and foremen (bowler hats). We think, the man in the bowler hat in the foreground bottom left might be David Harris, superintendent for William Arrol’s company, who supplied the steel for the Bridge.

But who are the others, who for example are the two boys sitting in the centre by the wheel, who is the 'old seadog' third on the bench bottom right, who is the black man with the bowler hat at a rakish angle in the centre?

Close up of boys who worked on Tower Bridge

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you if you can identify any of the men here. Or let us know if you have any photographs or names, or stories linking you and your family to London's defining landmark.

Edward 'Ted' Forrest at the top of Tower Bridge

Finding Edward 'Ted' Forrest

How you have helped us

Back in 2015, we created a specific mailbox for people with a story to tell about the Bridge - people@towerbridge.org.uk. One of the first emails we received was from Chris Forrest, who enquired about his grandfather, Edward ‘Ted’ Forrest, who had apparently worked at the Bridge for almost 50 years between the 1930s and the 1980s. This one email led to us learning a lot of new information about life at the Bridge during these times, which you can read about in our article about Ted

Image used with kind permission of P. Forrest and family.