Guides to the Tower of London

Tower of London © David Gill

Tower of London © David Gill

The Tower of London is now part of the Historic Royal Palaces. However it was formerly in the care of the Office of Works.

1948 [reprinted 1958]

1948 [reprinted 1958]

I have two post war guides. The first is the 1948 edition (reprinted 1948) at a cost of 4 d and was issued by the Ministry of Works, Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings (24 pp.). This informs the visitor that the cost of admission is 1 s (6 d for children) and ‘allows a general view of the Tower of London, and includes admission to the WHITE TOWER (Armouries), the NEW ARMOURIES, the BEAUCHAMP and BLOODY TOWERS, and (on application in writing to the Resident Governor), the MARTIN, BROAD ARROW, SALT and BELL TOWERS’.

There is a short history starting, ‘The Tower of London was first built by William the Conqueror, for the purpose of protecting and controlling the city’. There is then a description to each feature of the Tower with a black and white plan printed at the centre of the guide.

My copy has a single page insert dated June 28, 1961 that includes the statement that ‘the top floor of the White Tower has been closed for repairs’.

1967

1967

The second is in the ‘blue guide’ format of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works (1967). In the history it notes the ‘confinement’ of ‘state prisoners’ including Rudolf Hess, ‘Hitler’s deputy’, in May 1941. Like the earlier guide it is 24 pages long and includes a black and white plan in the centre.