NewsThe Brunel Museum is re-opening on 10 August

August 7, 20200
Raise a glass to cheer the re-opening of The Brunel Museum and its bar


The museum

The Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe is above the Thames Tunnel, which was completed in 1843.

The engineer Marc Isambard Brunel designed the world’s first tunnel under a river, which was nicknamed the eighth wonder of the world.

As it features an underground chamber half the size of Shakespeare’s Globe, it was also the world’s first underground theatre.

The tunnel was originally used by pedestrians.

Later, it was converted for rail in the 1860s and is now used as an overground rail crossing between Rotherhithe and Wapping.

The Brunel Museum © The Brunel Museum
The bar

The tunnel shaft was intended as an outlet for smoke. However, it was covered with concrete and soil during World War II to protect the trains from bombs.

These days, it is a garden and terrace home to the museum’s bar, Midnight Apothecary.

Bar founder Lottie Muir creates seasonal menus which use herbs and flowers that are foraged or grown in the garden on the museum rooftop.

Midnight Apothecary © The Brunel Museum

As well as cocktail evenings, the museum hosts live music, opera, theatre and cabaret – just like the Victorians did.

Coming up, you can sit around a campfire or join a guided underground tour, while families can take part in a detective trail or make a top hat.

New director

The museum’s new director, Dr Cathy Pütz, has previously worked at the V&A, Tate Britain and the National Gallery.

Cathy says, ‘It’s an honour to take the reins. The site tells a compelling story about the ingenuity of the Brunels [Marc and his son, Isambard], and their legacy has the power to inspire future engineers.’

Cathy is drawing up future plans.

These include improving visitor facilities, making the museum accessible, preserving the Grade II-listed building and creating a new entrance.

An air conditioned gallery is also being created to display Brunel’s watercolour tunnel designs.

You can make suggestions for the museum’s future, too.

Safety measures

To ensure visitor safety, the museum has reduced capacity and opened more windows and doors to increase ventilation. It now only takes card payments.

You will also be asked to leave your name and email address in case you need to be contacted following a Covid-19 outbreak.


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