The Kirkaldy Testing Museum

A museum which preserves a unique Victorian Materials Testing Machine in working order in the premises built to house it.

It tells the story of the Kirkaldy family who ran the business for almost 100 years and the wider history of materials testing.

The museum occupies the ground floor and basement of 99 Southwark Streeet in the Southwark area just south of Tate Modern. The building was built in 1874 specifically to house "Kirkaldy's Testing and Experimenting Works".

Venue Type:


Opening hours

First Sundays of Every Month. Please check website to confirm if museum will be open on a particular date.

Group visits are possible at other times but please give us at least 3 months notice.

Admission charges

Entrance fee: £5
Concessions: £4

Collection details


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
The testing machine is 47 feet long


  • 17 May 2018 6:30-8:30pm

When the ingenious Victorians got busy building magnificent and ambitious structures how did they know they were safe? Come to this special late opening at Kirkaldy’s Testing Museum in Bankside London and see why it was Facts not Opinions that mattered.

Victorian engineer David Kirkaldy opened his Testing & Experimenting Works here at 99 Southwark Street on 1 January 1874. Inside, his mighty 47 foot long Universal Testing Machine stood at the heart of the world’s first independent commercial materials testing house. Samples from structures around the world arrived here to be tested to destruction, as well as being brought from the Tay Bridge for examination into its failure.

Today, thanks to a group of people passionate about engineering, technology, creativity and London’s history, you can still step inside this atmospheric workshop and experience some of that inventiveness, creativity and conviction, in the very place where it happened.

Kirkaldy’s Testing Museum also brings together an impressive collection of smaller machines that tell the wider story of testing, as well as the singular, independent approach of David Kirkaldy and his family. See, learn about, and even smell, this piece of London’s story for yourself!

This is a special event for Museums at Night – see our website ( and follow us on Twitter (@KirkaldyMuseum) for more details as they are announced.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17
  • 14-15
  • 11-13


£10 adult / £8 concession


The Kirkaldy Testing Museum
99 Southwark Street




020 7828 0401

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.