Early views of the tunnels

We hope that everyone is coping with staying at home during these hard and very strange times. As the Tunnels are currently closed, we don’t have any updates or real news to report, so let’s have a look back at some views of the Tunnels in those early days, long before we started our Big Dig.

Paddington was our first Big Dig, the chambers being last explored around 1925 before being filled in, sealed up and forgotten about. That was until 1999, when FoWT rediscovered this fascinating set of what would turn out to be the staggering cathedral like chambers, that they are today. It took 4 years for our team of dedicated and hard-working volunteers to empty these chambers of approximately 1500 tons of infill, using 159 skips, all completely by hand.

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Mile Tunnel when full of rubble
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The infill in Level 2 lit by candles
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The infill in Level 2 lit by candles

Little did we know that these filled chambers in Paddington would eventually extend down to 60ft below street level. The photos were taken just days after their rediscovery. See just how close the infill was to the brick arched roof, this infill was to be removed during our Epic Big Dig…

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The wonderful multi Arch with the late Steve Moran
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Arch in Level 3 looking toward what is now Level 4, the amazing cathedral like chamber
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Arch in Level 3 looking toward what is now Level 4

This impressively constructed Sandstone Arch with its precisely carved blocks of stone. To access here and beyond used to involve descending a long ladder, through a man hole on the surface. Fall arrest harnesses where in use when ascending or descending this ladder for safety.

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The Sandstone Arch
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Les haviong come out of the Gash into the Sandstone Arch

The Wine Bins with its nice Elliptical Arch. The Bins themselves and the Bishops Mitre Arch, with some nice hidden features that we were yet to discover.

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Wine Bins

The Banqueting Hall and Gash are located under Joseph Williamson’s House Site on Mason Street. Who remembers the “Ski Slope” at the far end? This steep slope of infill was definitely worth the climb to the top for the amazing view. Little did we know that our digging was to reveal a trench as you exit the Gash, meaning that another climb was necessary to access the Banqueting Hall. We would also be surprised that in this trench in the Banqueting Hall, we would find an entrance into a large chamber alongside. Amazing

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Inside the Banqueting Hall, with the Gash and Gothic Arch
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Inside the Banqueting Hall, looking towards the ski slope
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The view from the top of the ski slope. note the dumped metal garage rubbish as well as infill
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Inside the Gash, looking towards the Banqueting Hall

Take Care, Keep Safe and Well

7 thoughts on “Early views of the tunnels

  1. Just let us hope that when this is all over work can recommence and further wonders will be revealed, be safe all of you.

    1. Thanks Paul. We are missing our digging days. As soon as we can, we will be back. We have some quite exciting digging plans for the furure which will hopefully see some new sections open 😀

  2. Great to see such a wonderfull site ,well done to all who worked so well to find this gem all being it a very large one,look forward to coming again when this dreaded disease is long gone, regards to all and keep Safe , Anne Graham ,Cumbria, to

  3. Thank you for sending me these pictures of the tunnels love them and you all stay safe as well

  4. It’s good to look back on what has been achieved, but for a while we can only wait.

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