The front of KTMThe front of The Museum
The rear of KTMThe rear of The Museum

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Why is the Kirkaldy Testing Museum important?

David Kirkaldy's Testing and Experimenting Works at 99 Southwark Street set international standards in testing materials from which everyone’s everyday life benefits today.

Today, this unique Victorian workshop keeps alive our direct link with Kirkaldy's innovation, at the heart of this bustling commercial district of London. The Kirkaldy Testing Museum preserves Kirkaldy's unique Universal Testing Machine - the huge hydraulic powered machine he designed and had built in Leeds - in full working order in the premises he built to house it.

As well as presenting the story of the family who ran the business for almost 100 years and of the wider development of materials testing, the workshop and the Universal Testing Machine provide a unique crucible for new experimentation and collaboration - which can inspire future generations of scientists and artists alike to continue enquiring into the properties of the materials on which we build our lives.

English Heritage Upgrade Listing to Grade II *
Listing Details Here

Recognition indeed of the huge importance of this place.

The directors would like to thank Professor David Perrett and the Greater London Industrial Archaeological Society (GLIAS), of which he is Chairman, for applying on behalf of the museum and seeing the up-grading through to its successful conclusion.

Next Regular Opening

Sunday 3rd August between 10.00am-4.00pm.

We have a 2 month extension to allow lease negotiations to continue but after August ???.

There will be guided tours at 11.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 15.00 and the tour takes about 1 hour.

If you are bringing a group of 10 or more on a normal opening day please send us an email with the time. We can then give you priority and avoid congestion.

For more information about how to get to the museum and entrance details,
please go to the visiting page.

Group visits are possible at other times. At the moment we cannot take any bookings after the 24th August so any requests for visits before then will be dependent on the availability of volunteer guides.

Obtaining a new lease on satisfactory terms and planning for a sustainable future for the museum are being adressed by the directors and other interested parties.

For any inquiries regarding visiting please contact us at

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Support Kirkaldy Testing Museum - Click here to find out how
Read our Partnership brochure (pdf) here

The museum receives no funding other than from visitors. Help preserve this amazing piece of our Victorian past for future generations.

If you are looking to partner with us and would like to find out more about getting involved in adding your support, please contact:"

All donations are gratefully received.


"For the Victorians, building bridges with new materials was the nanotechnology of its day but on a truly massive scale. Kirkaldy was at the heart of this revolution and the survival of his testing machine is a vital reminder to us today of the search for truth, even when it isn’t always popular. Everyone with even the remotest interest in how bridges stand should come to Southwark and see for themselves!"

Dan Cruickshank
Historian and TV presenter


"Experiencing Kirkaldy’s machine testing materials to destruction gives us direct, exciting contact with the pioneering ideas of this exceptional engineer. But it also offers new ways to explore ideas around art, science and innovation. Ensuring this museum has a sustainable future is essential if we are to inspire people from every background and discipline to continue asking these questions."

Dr Daniel Glaser
Director, Science Gallery London,
King’s College London


Media Coverage - Click here for a summary

News Summary - Click here for more news

Listing upgraded to Grade 2* by English Heritage.

Two month extension until August to allow lease negotiations to continue.

Piano Smashing photos.

Volunteering - Click here to find out more

The museum is run entirely by volunteers. Once the future is settled we will need more helpers.

Last Update: 13 July 2014