Research update: the Indian engineer

Work is now underway to redevelop the various displays inside the Bridge’s high-level Walkways. Exhibition Development Manager Dirk Bennett tells us about the latest find in his quest to uncover the Bridge's human history.

What links rugby, Kentish Town and Karachi harbour with Tower Bridge? One man: Keshavji Shamji Budhbhatti.

Keshavji was an engineer from India who came to England in 1885 to study at the Royal Indian Engineering Institute at Cooper’s Hill near Windsor. The institute played out an annual rugby cup between students in Madras, Mumbai and Delhi in a competition that would later become the Calcutta Cup. 

From the summer of ’89 (1889 that is) Keshavji was employed at Tower Bridge, working on its construction for site engineer George Edward Wilson Crutwell. During his time in London, Keshavji lived in Lupton Street, Kentish Town. The house still stands, a short distance from Kentish Town Station, which at the time already had a railway link.

After his work at the Bridge, Keshavji returned to India where he had a long and successful career as a civil engineer. He was involved with numerous projects such as building bridges (one of them was even named after him), railways, water barriers; and he was instrumental in the building of Karachi harbour.

Keshavji currently features in our Happy Birthday Horace children's exhibition and will hopefully become part of our new permanent exhibition at the end of the year. 

We are always on the look out for new stories about Tower Bridge and the people who have worked here, if you have anything to share please contact