Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

28 February 2010

Drive through the Blackwall Tunnel

Actually made up of two tunnels, The Blackwall Tunnel links Tower Hamlets and Greenwich along the A102 road.


The western tunnel was designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and built by S. Pearson & Sons, and work began in 1892. When the tunnel was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in May 1897, it had cost £1.4 million, and seven workmen had died during construction. To clear the site in Greenwich, around 600 houses were demolished, including, legend has it, one which originally belonged to Sir Walter Raleigh.

The second, eastern, tunnel was opened in 1967. It is wider and lacks the sharp turns of the western tunnel, which were reputedly the result of a swerve to avoid a plague burial ground. Its construction involved the building of two distinctive ventilation towers, designed by architect Terry Farrell, which stand in Blackwall. The southern ventilation shafts rise through the Millenium Dome, hence the hole in the roof.

For more on the Blackwall Tunnel, see http://www.blackwalltunnel.com/

5 comments:

  1. Alas, if only one could reliably drive through the Tunnel. It's now shut every night southbound after 9pm for at least two years (yes, until *after* the Olympics) in order apparently to put up a few security cameras. All very frustrating if you have to get home south of the river after nine. See http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=270432323947

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  2. Hi Elvira,

    Thanks for this. I must admit as I only ever go through as a passenger at the moment I wasn't aware of this.

    Sounds really annoying. It does feel like TFL are getting beyond a joke with their closures recently, and to close the tunnel at night for three years is amazing, especially considering it is one of the key arteries between two Olympic venues.

    Tom


    Tom

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  3. The tunnel is over a 113 years old, and needs to be refurbished. As part of this refurbishment it is being brough up to modern safety standards with the latest commumincations, monitoring, CCTV, lighting, and ventilation sytems being installed. There will also be better signage, a public address system, and saftey niches for drivers using the emergency telephones. Work is currently 6 months ahead of schedule, and should therefore be completed ahead of the olympics.

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  4. Many thanks to the Blackwall Tunnel PR division for their anonymous update...

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  5. Yeah, thanks TFL. How many signs do you need when you're driving through a tunnel? And a PA system! When is Fatboy Slim doing a gig there? Clearly that's what we've been missing for the last 113 years. When can we have another crossing please?

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