Exploring Southwark and discovering its history
This is an unusual and, until you know what it is, a puzzling structure near the Courage Brewery next to Tower Bridge. It's connected with the bridge and housed the main accumulator, one of six which stored up power generated by steam engines. This fed into the engines when required to drive the bascules of the bridge up and down hydraulically. Though working perfectly, the equipment was replaced in 1976 as the closing of the London docks meant the need to open the bascules of the bridge was greatly reduced and the use of continuous steam boilers became uneconomic. Oil and electrically driven hydraulics replaced the system and the original pumping engines, accumulators and boilers are now on display in the Tower Bridge Exhibition’s Engine Rooms.
The accumulator tower and chimney stack were Grade II listed in 1983.