Bascule Chambers

Tower Bridge's Bascule Chambers are one of London’s greatest hidden spaces.

Built as an operational area to allow for the movement of the Bridge's huge counterweights used during Bridge Lifts, this cavernous brick-lined, subterranean space is normally out of bounds for everyday visitors. But, on rare occasions, they are opened up for public use and provide a spectacular venue for special tours and events.

Tower Bridge's Bascule Chambers, beneath the road

Bascule Chambers facts

  • The Bascule Chambers are like two enormous halls, 27 metres high, inside the piers. Their width x length x height measurements are: 21 x 59 x 27 metres.
  • The piers for the Bascule Chambers were built using 12 caissons, steel cages lowered into the Thames.
  • A team of divers lead by a Quaker, Friend Samuel Penney, then worked inside the caissons excavating the foundations.
  • Each of our mighty bascules weight over 1,200 tons. A 400-ton counterweight help them to descend into the Bascules Chambers.
  • The bascules were were built vertically to ensure river traffic could still pass. They were the final part of Tower Bridge’s construction.
  • The walls in the piers are a minimum of 304.8 cm (10 foot) thick made of Staffordshire Brindle and Gault bricks, faced with Granite
  • An engineer once fitted a fire alarm inside the Bascule Chambers. The next Bridge Lift caused the alarm to be ripped off the wall!
Tower Bridge's Bascule Chambers

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

See inside the Bascule Chambers

If you found your way here after watching Channel 5's London's Greatest Bridges, you might be interested to know that you can visit this normally-off-limits area on a Behind-the-Scenes Tour for yourself.

So, grab the chance to take a rare and extended look around Tower Bridge including the Towers, Engine Rooms and Bascule Chambers, led by our accredited guides.

What our visitors say

'Excellent tour. Seeing underneath the Bridge was so interesting. The tour guides were both great!'

February 2023

'Very interesting and informative. The guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. Good size group for the tour. Would highly recommend.'

February 2023

'Highly recommended if you really want to know what makes this Bridge the unique icon that it is, and more importantly, go up and down!'

January 2023

Concerts & Screenings

In the past, Tower Bridge have worked closely with partners to create and host unique artistic events such as concerts and film screenings within the cathedral-like space of the Bascule Chambers. Each event has enthralled visitors and captured their imaginations.

For a taste of these previous events, watch a sample of a concert curated by composer Iain Chambers.