First glimpse due of Tower of London shop extension

The new extension to the Tower of London’s revamped shop opens this week, with design by First, as the UK’s most visited heritage attraction seeks to modernise its retail offer.

According to First director Sam Sprague, the group’s remit is to make the retail offer more ‘relevant’ to the Tower and increase the shop’s turnover and profit.

‘Retailing in museums has become more sophisticated. For visitors, the experience should be in tune with what they’ve just seen and reaffirm that experience. It’s not about novelty or plastic toys,’ he says. ‘As well as delivering a retail [space], we want to inform, educate and entertain at the same time.’

The 418m2 store is arranged in three parts, with a two-storey ‘glass box’ added to the refurbished old pump house. In the centre of the ground floor of the extension is a ruby red retail display, visible from outside and illuminated at night. Together with two red stone staircases, the glass wall creates a ‘portcullis’ effect and a ‘sense of drama’, says Sprague.

First won the work after a six-way pitch in March 2000.

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