Opinion

10 Things You Learn From Living In The Tower Of London

10 Things You Learn From Living In The Tower Of London

For five years, comedian Tom Houghton lived with his dad, who happened to be an inhabitant of one of the world's best-known buildings, the Tower of London. Here, Tom tells us 10 things you can only fully appreciate once you've lived in a moated fortress with an enviable postcode.

The Tower of London and a young man in a uniform
The Tower is good for ghosts, but not to much the internet. Image: Andrew Rees via creative commons/Tom Houghton

KEYS: Yes, the Tower has a famous locking up ceremony, but I never actually needed keys to get in and out of myself. The place has two battle gates, a moat, and multiple armed guards — so safe to say, security is tighter than your average Yale burglar alarm. Now that I actually have keys, I'm forever panicking that I've lost them.

ACCESS: Still, at least I no longer have to go through the unremitting process of signing in and out that's part and parcel of living in the Tower. Now I am my own man — able to nip out at 11pm to buy yoghurts from the Co-Op, without some Beefeater giving me the side-eye.

NUDITY: That's not the only freedom I've been afforded since leaving the Tower. Now I can pace around the house naked, without worrying about photobombing some Canadian's holiday snaps with my genitals. It's peace of mind.

A set of house keys
You have to get used to using keys after living at the keyless Tower. Image: Maria Ziegler via Unsplash

INTERNET: William the Conqueror — that inconsiderate so-and-so — didn't build those big, thick Tower walls with a strong BT connection in mind. Now I can stream to my heart's content.

DELIVEROO: Have you ever tried getting Domino's to deliver to the Tower of London? It's not easy. Even if you do manage to get the internet working, they might struggle to believe that you live inside a moated tourist attraction. And even if they DO, your delivery person might get scared off by some headless ghost or other...

GHOSTS: That's another boon of not living in London's oldest building; far fewer ghosts. Although if I'm too loud after hours, the figure of an angry Italian woman will appear at my front door and tell me to shut up.

PUB: My local at the Tower was The Keys — the private pub inside the Tower walls, where Beefeaters take it in turns to pour pints (of their own special-brand beer) and swap war stories. Now it's the Dover Castle, which is full of drunk students vomiting up halfway through a rugby initiation. I think we all know who'd win in a fight.

Beefeater branded beer tap
The only pub where you'll find this beer. Image: Londonist

DAD: One of the best parts about living in the Tower was it allowed me to spend quality time with him. He's a never-ending source of knowledge and I miss out late night chats.

HISTORY: Living in the Tower of London really gave me a newfound respect for history — after all, you can't really escape it. Now when I'm on tour, I try to soak up the history wherever I am.

APPRECIATION: The Tower has stood the test of time. Many centuries of people coming and going. And yet nothing lasts forever. My five years as a resident of the Tower of London taught me to appreciate the moment you're in — enjoy it and respect it. Life moves on fast, so cherish the place you're in. Even if the internet is rubbish.

You can hear more stories about living in the Tower — and many more — on Tom Houghton's It's Not Ideal Tour, which is on the road right now. He comes to Bromley's Churchill Theatre on 27 March 2024 and the Bloomsbury Theatre & Studio on 15 April 2024.

Last Updated 25 March 2024