The questions we have been most often asked over the years are, “where are the Tunnels?”, “how far do they go?” or “is there a map of the tunnels?”
To our knowledge Joseph Williamson never created maps of his underground kingdom, or at least if he did create a map of his tunnels, it has never been found. So following the death of Joseph in 1840, his tunnels began to be filled, sealed and therefore forgotten about. For many years the locations of many of his Tunnels became a mystery, with of course the exception of the tunnels in the stable yard (now the Heritage Centre), the Banqueting Hall and Wine Bins. The tunnels in the former Lord Mayor’s Stable Yard were always accessible, as were the Banqueting Hall. We have been told how the mechanics who worked at P.M.Willey’s garage (Williamson’s house) used to explore the Banqueting Hall during their lunch break.
We have created a new map which shows the locations of the known and suspected Tunnels. Whilst we have made the map as accurate possible, it can’t be 100% guaranteed.
So how have we put this map together? Where has this data come from to allow us to show unknown tunnels on a map?
Well firstly, the 3 main sections of the Williamson’s Tunnels shown in Yellow. These sections include our Paddington Site, the Williamson’s House Site where the Banqueting Hall & Wine Bins are located and of course the public Williamson’s Tunnels Heritage Centre on Smithdown Lane. These three tunnels sections are easily accessible and can be visited.
The Tunnels sections coloured dark blue, these tunnel locations are confirmed, in some cases by sight during building works or actually discovered, explored and photographed by us.
The tunnels in orange, which include the Great Tunnel, have been shown to exist by being mapped and drawn in quite comprehensive plan’s, carried out by the Army in 1882 and 1907. The old plan in the bottom right of the map is just part of the 1882 Army survey. This shows in detail where the Triple Decker Tunnel had been bisected by the main Liverpool Lime Street to Edge Hill railway cutting. To view this plan you would bend the plan 90° at point “B” This shows the Great Tunnel side on from between points “A” & “B”, then the Triple Decker Tunnel through to point “C”
The remaining two tunnel colours, these have been shown to exist due to Geophysics Ground surveys, using Micro Gravity and Ground Penetrating Radar. This method can tell you where unseen voids in the ground may exist. Some have been shown by other 3rd party surveys and in some cases, historical literature too.
We do not think that the tunnels shown here are by any means the full extent of Williamson’s Kingdom. We have a very long road ahead of us if we are to find as many of these amazing underground structures as we can and also secure access and preserve these engineering masterpieces.
You will find a larger version of this map on the maps page: http://williamsontunnels.com/the-tunnels/map/