How Does Tower Bridge Work?

How does Tower Bridge work?

Join Education Officer, Sophie Jordan, as she presents a series of short, engaging films, exploring how Tower Bridge originally worked.  

Each film contains thought-provoking questions, encouraging the use of creative and problem-solving skills, and spotting connections to everyday life. An activity sheet looking at the role cogs play in raising the Bridge supports the films.

These resources can be used standalone, or alongside one of our free, virtual workshops, such as Raise Tower Bridge from Scratch! and our Victorian Engine Rooms Challenge

Contact the Learning team at learning@towerbridge.org.uk for more information and to book.

Introduction to the Engine Rooms

This film gives a brief overview of every stage in the original process of raising the Bridge.

The boilers

Discover how our coal boilers generated steam.

The steam pumping engines

Find out where the steam generated in the boilers went, and learn how Tower Bridge used to work a little like a steam train!

The pistons

Discover how steam created the mighty hydraulic power needed to raise the Bridge.

The accumulators

Find out how power was stored so that Tower Bridge was always ready to open for ships.

The cog

The final stage of the process: the cog.  Discover how this simple device raises Tower Bridge's huge bascules.

Activity - The wonderful cogs of Tower Bridge

Get your mental gears grinding with our fun worksheet which explores the vital role cogs play in raising Tower Bridge!

Download worksheet

Keep those cogs turning

So you know how Tower Bridge works, but do you know why and how it was built? Continue your learning with our exciting films and activities exploring the reasons and the people behind the Bridge.

Your class can also put their Engine Rooms expertise into practice with our fun, interactive Engine Rooms Challenge: can you fix the Bridge in time for the approaching ship?!