Although it has been possible for group tours to go down under Tower Bridge and into the Bascule Chambers, it hasn’t been an option for the individual visitor. Until now.
But what are the Bascule Chambers?
They are two vast quarter-circle shaped rooms underneath the bridge where the massive counterweight swings into when the bridge is opened. I’ve been in once before as part of the aforementioned group tours, and they are an extraordinary sight.
Sadly, my photos from the trip didn’t survive, but a teaser is here.
There is one chamber in each of the main “feet” of the bridge, and you go down a long deep staircase, past the remains of the Victorian hydraulic weights, then through a narrow passageway – and suddenly you stand upright in this vast cathedral-like space.
A cathedral to industry.
As I said, although normally only available to groups, Tower Bridge is now allowing individuals to book tickets and go down in groups of 12 people into the Chamber.
Sadly, not allowed in when the bridge is actually opening though. Rats!
The tours — which cost £30 — also include the modern machinery room in the North side of the bridge where you can see the comparatively tiny engine that has replaced all the Victorian hydraulic weights and steam engines, some of the replica controls, and the normal tourist sights of the high walkways and old victorian steam engines.
Tours will run every weekend in January, starting on Saturday 7th and all weekends in March ending on Saturday 31st. Tours last for an hour and a half.
Tickets can be booked by calling 020 7407 9191.