Greenwich foot tunnel
Victorian tunnel under the River Thames
(Photos ©urban75, Aug 2010)
Linking Greenwich in the south with the Isle of Dogs to the north, the Greenwich foot tunnel has been serving subterranean foot passengers since 4 August 1902.
Designed by civil engineer Sir Alexander Binnie for London County Council and constructed by contractor John Cochrane & Co, the 70.2 m (1,217 ft) long tunnel is reached via entrance shafts at both ends.
These take the shape of circular, brick built buildings capped with a glazed dome, with stairs and lifts providing access to the tunnel below.
The cast-iron tunnel - lined with some 200,000 white glazed tiles - lies 15.2 metres (50 ft) below the river and has an internal diameter of around 9 feet (2.7 m). The tunnel's diameter narrows considerably at the northern end with a thick steel and concrete inner lining patching up World War 2 damage.
The tunnel was built to provide access for workers living on the south side of the Thames to reach the London docks and shipyards situated around the Isle of Dogs, and replaced an earlier unreliable ferry service.
When I visited, restoration work was taking place - this is expected to be completed by March 2011.
Classed as a public highway, the tunnel has to be kept open 24 hours a day by law, although the attendant-operated lift service is only open from 7am to 7pm on weekdays and Saturdays, 10am-5.30pm on Sundays. There's no service on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
Looking across the river to Canary Wharf. The northern domed entrance can be seen to the right.
Walking down the stairs on the southern entrance.
Looking up the lift shaft. The lifts were installed in 1904 and upgraded in 1992.
Inside the tunnel, heading north.
The tunnel is part of the UK's National Cycle Route 1 linking Inverness and Dover, although cyclists are required to dismount and push their bikes through the tunnel itself.
Near the 'bottom' of the tunnel.
Some of the 200,00 tiles!
Approaching the northern exit, showing the reduced diameter of the tunnel.
Northern exit, with open lift doors in the distance.
Looking back towards the southern end.
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