The rear of The Museum
Where are we
View Larger Map
We do not have a phone number. The one on Google is not ours.
We do not have a phone number. The one on Google is not ours.
A chance to draw in an unusual and historic Victorian testing and experimenting workshop in a grade two listed building in Southwark. The purpose built rooms still house the equipment of the Kirkaldy Testing Works, including the original testing machine. As well as the main machine, the space contains lots of samples of test materials and other interesting little engineering related objects.
Please note: This is not a taught workshop. Artists of all abilities are welcome to come and sketch and if you're a beginner Tom will be happy to give some pointers. We're hoping to hold some taught classes in the New Year. Please bring your own sketchbook and materials.
Suggested donation £7 to cover a donation to the museum and materials.
For more info call Tom Pearce on 07816 052 751.
You can see Tom's drawings of Tanner Street here:
and on his own website here: www.drawingsofthings.com.
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.
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.
There will be regular guided tours between 10.30 and 15.00, and we will, if possible, run tests on Kirkaldy’s machine at 11.30, 13.30 and 15.30.
However machine running is dependent on the availability of enough qualified vounteers and will be decided by the person in charge on the day.
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, although any requests for visits are always dependent on the availability of volunteer guides.
The museum now has a new lease.
Saturday 19th December at 11 am & 2 pm.
On these days the museum will not be open to the public at other times. Please queue outside on Southwark Street, the maximum number on each tour is likely to be around 25.
We are also considering some early evening openings but have no dates yet. These will mean those people who work in the area during the week can visit after work.
We would welcome enquiries from local companies considering an evening out with a difference for their department or project group, perhaps as a prelude to a meal. The maximum number we can accomodate would be around 25.
1) We were featured on BBC London News Wednesday 17th June 2015. A longer feature can be watched on London Live TV. Quirky buildings get protective status from Historical England
3) A feature on the museum by The Londonist.
4) Another video on Youtube featuring the main machine and the small Avery
5) Piano Smashing June 2014 - photos and link to the video.
The museum hosted a specially created artwork 'Chain Reaction' by TROPE.
THIS HAS NOW FINISHED. There were well over 1000 visitors in the 4 weeks with more than 150 on the final day.
Thank you to everyone who came to the Testing Works for our August opening - and for your encouraging words and offers of support for the future. It is inspiring to have the museum alive with visitors of all ages, sharing a fascination and wonder at the survival of the working Testing Machine in its original setting and, above all, the thrill at seeing it in action!
It is an experience we want to bring to many more people and we are doing all we can to heed the universal request not to lose the unique atmosphere. On Sunday 3rd alone visitors told us they were inspired to write articles and explore documentary film-making about the machine. Others simply wanted a chance to get more involved with helping to maintain the Works. It's a rare opportunity these days.
Some of things we heard this weekend:
If you would like to hear from us with updates on the future of the museum, or send us more ideas for support, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com"
"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!"
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
31st October 2015: The Hilton Hotel behind the museum is now partially open and the paving of Prices Street is almost done.
The museum is run entirely by volunteers. We now have a new lease but to afford the rent we have to open more often so we will need more helpers.
Last Site Update: 28 November 2015