Group News
Local History 2Leaders Pauline Watling & Joyce Savinson

Tower Bridge Experience  
On the 10th April, 15 of us visited what is described as The Tower Bridge
Experience. We had a short walk from London Bridge Station with a stop
for coffee on the way. At 11.30 pm we were met by our excellent guide
who was able to answer our many questions and who gave us a very
comprehensive tour.

A few historical facts: it took 8 years to build the bridge involving 432
workers each day. Construction began in 1886 and was officially opened
in 1894. It opened to the public for the first time in 1910 and was called the
Tower Bridge Experience. When it was built it was the most sophisticated
bascule and suspension bridge and it was operated by hydraulics to open
and close the bridge. Originally it was powered by steam but now it is
driven by oil and electricity. All this can be seen in the engine room and it
is quite fascinating. There are glass panels along both walkways over the
Thames with a unique viewpoint 42 metres above the river, and, as you
view the landscape, you can pick out the various landmarks. All in all, it
was a very interesting guided tour.

Venue hire is available for parties and events!

Maureen Woplin & Amelia O’Brien



Local History Group 3 • Leader Christine Withams

On the 10th April, our group visited The Post Office Museum at Phoenix
Place. We were the last of the three Local History groups to visit this so
much has been written already. We travelled to Cannon Street Station and
discovered that the road outside was being dug up so we had to find
where we could catch the number 17 bus to Grays Inn Road.

On arrival, we joined the queue to travel on the small postal underground
train. This was developed to transport mail across London quickly and
efficiently. Work began on its construction as far back as 1915, but was
halted by WW1. It opened in 1927 and continued to be in use for 76 years,
closing in 2003. The line ran from Paddington District Office to Eastern
District Office via Mount Pleasant Sorting Office and Liverpool Street. The
ride took us along part of the track with information about its history.
Although the train was quite small and cramped, we all enjoyed the
experience. From there we walked a short way down the street to the main
Museum. After a coffee/lunch break at the café there, we made our way
round the Museum. 

Lynn Plumer & Barbara Buckland
Sidcup and District U3A