Thursday, 3 August 2017

147 Years Ago Yesterday,

if you wanted to cross the river Thames,

and not use bridges or ferries, you would travel in a underground carriage like this, the engraving from 1870 shows the cramped conditions when a train ran through the Tower Subway tunnel, here was the problem, ships going up and down the river travel east - west, passenger ferries on the other hand crossed their paths north - south, and bridges were few, step forward Peter William Barlow, he designed a method of using tunnel shields and patented the method in 1864, 

and complected the public tunnel which today so few of us have heard about, originally it was to have carriages pulled by two stationary steam engines, but after a year or so of unreliable service they were removed and a the tunnel floor was boarded and the tunnel became a pedestrian walk way, amazingly the tunnel was completed in just 14 weeks, and is still in use today with water mains running through it, it fell into disuse when the Tower Bridge, which was free to use opened, the tunnel cost half a penny per crossing, whilst Peter William Barlow was tunnelling I should mention his brother, William Henry Barlow, and their father Professor Peter Barlow, genius definitely runs in this family!

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