Engine Rooms

Follow the Blue Line to find the Engine Rooms and Shop, underneath the southern approach to Tower Bridge.

Discover the steam engines which once powered the Bridge Lifts in the atmospheric Engine Rooms.

Top tip: Keep your ticket as staff will need to check it on arrival to the Engine Rooms

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engine rooms

Engine Rooms facts

  • More than 80 people were needed to maintain the engines and raise the Bridge. 
  • When Tower Bridge was first built, it raised between 20-30 times a day. Today, it opens an average of 2-3.
  • Tower Bridge’s stokers used to shovel over 20 tonnes of coal per week.
  • The steam engines could raise the bascules in 60 seconds.
  • In 1976, Tower Bridge switched from steam power to electricity. These original steam engines are the ones now on display in the Engine Rooms.
  • Until the early 1980s, we had cats living in and around the Engine Rooms.
Engine Rooms

Discover how the Bridge works...

Marvel at the original Victorian steam engines, coal-fired boilers, drivetrains and accumulators and learn how they work through a series of interactive displays and information panels.

Learn about the power of steam and the ingenious hydraulic technology that lifted Tower Bridge's mighty bascules at a moment's notice until 1976. These are now maintained and preserved for visitors to enjoy.

engine room

...and the people who worked here.

From cooks to coal stokers, signal men to engineers, uncover the fascinating histories of the people who kept an icon in motion. Enjoy engaging films and oral histories, which shine a light on the dedicated, ordinary workers who kept London's defining landmark lifting for more than a century.

Sir William Armstrong. Copyright Cragside/National Trust

Sir William Armstrong

The technology behind Tower Bridge's Engine Rooms was based on an invention by Sir William Armstrong, one of the world’s most successful industrialist-engineers.

Image: Portrait of William Armstrong by Mary Lemon Waller. © Cragside/National Trust 

Visit the Engine Rooms

Discover the beating heart of Tower Bridge.


Tower Bridge work with AccessAble to provide factual, detailed, accessibility information.

What our visitors say

To go above the Thames in one of the most iconic bridges on earth was thrilling. And seeing the Engine Rooms, and learning of the history of the landmark was the icing on the cake.

The Engine Rooms were very interesting. It was brilliant to see how the Bridge was originally powered. Highly recommend a visit!

A lovely experience. It is one of those attractions that combines the engineering of the time with the lives of people around it.