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.

Paddington_New_1st_Level
Mile Tunnel when full of rubble
Paddington_2ndLevel_candle1
The infill in Level 2 lit by candles
Paddington_2ndLevel_candle2
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…

Paddington_3drLevel_multiArch
The wonderful multi Arch with the late Steve Moran
Paddington_3rdLevel_GothicArch
Arch in Level 3 looking toward what is now Level 4, the amazing cathedral like chamber
Paddington_3rdLevel_TwinArch
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.

arch2
The Sandstone Arch
arch1
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.

wine bins cropped version
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

arch and gash
Inside the Banqueting Hall, with the Gash and Gothic Arch
Banqueting hall2
Inside the Banqueting Hall, looking towards the ski slope
Banqueting Hall3-Edit
The view from the top of the ski slope. note the dumped metal garage rubbish as well as infill
inside the gash
Inside the Gash, looking towards the Banqueting Hall

Take Care, Keep Safe and Well

A new Journey of a Bucket

JoaB2

Several years ago, we made our Journey of a Bucket video. In it, we filmed the progress of one of our hundreds of buckets, from being filled down in the depths of Paddington’s Level 4 through its journey to the skip.

We decided to do a similar video but this time in the Subterranean chambers of Joseph Williamson’s House. This time, we filmed how we are currently getting our buckets of infill out from the Magnet Chamber, into the Banqueting Hall and then up to the surface.

You can watch both the original and new Journey of a Bucket video’s here.



We hope you enjoyed both of these videos, you can see even more of our videos on the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels YouTube Channel

 

 

Members meetings 2020 – Important Announcement

Members-Visits-image-IMPORTANT-ANNOUNCEMET

A few weeks ago, we announced that we had changed the location of our monthly members meetings to give easier access for our members attending our meetings.

We agreed with the owners of Grand Central Hall on Renshaw Street, Liverpool to hold our meetings in Bar Racine. Sadly, we have been contacted by the owners, just over a week before the first meeting, with the news that they had sold Bar Racine and that we can no longer hold our meetings there.

This is devastating news, which leaves us more than a little panicked to get a meeting location confirmed.

In the interim, we have arranged for the February and March meeting to be in the The Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Ln, Liverpool L1 3BT. See the location map of the Quaker Meeting House

We are urgently seeking a replacement venue for our meetings, so please watch this space for news on future meetings.

The Trustees and volunteers apologise for unavoidable problem.

FoWT win yet another award…

Wow, you wait years for an award then 2 come along at once! Following our amazing award last week, we were delighted to be notified today that we had received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

“We’re pleased to announce that Williamson’s Tunnels – Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels has been recognised with a 2019 Certificate of Excellence, based on the consistently great reviews you’ve earned on the world’s largest travel site.”

en-US-UK 2x

This is actually our second certificate off TripAdvisor, having already received the same in 2018

This of course is wonderful news, however we could not have done it without the support and hard work of our volunteers and of course the wonderful feedback from our visitors.

Williamson’s Kitchen empty & New Chamber open for visitors…

We have been working hard over the last few months to empty the Basement area of Joseph Williamson’s house. Well the good news is that we have finally finished digging out this area. The kitchen is completely empty, clear of all rubble and is now looking great. You really can get the feeling of how big the house would have been in Joseph’s time. Whilst digging here, we dug out under the main stone staircase from the house, which revealed the former door way into another chamber that had been bricked up.

CAI_5451
View looking down into Williamson’s Kitchen, with the house bay window on the left

CAI_5428
Inside the Kitchen showing the large sink and fireplaces with their ranges

CAI_5436
The Kitchen looking towards the rear of the house

CAI_5449-Edit
Staircase down into the kitchen and Joseph’s subterranean world

This chamber had never been visited by anyone but ourselves due to its awkward access. Well, having discovered the original bricked up doorway into this chamber, known as the Boiler room, we have now opened up this doorway once again. The boiler room, so called because the boilers to heat the garage had been fitted within. They had been removed, so that the arch above could be repaired, giving the arch its strength back.

This will enable us to take our visitors safely into this newly opened chamber. You can see in the photographs that the doorway into the boiler room is under the main staircase down the main house into the kitchen and then on to Joseph’s subterranean world…

CAI_5493
This, the newly opened up Boiler room, note the staircase above.

CAI_5480
Tom and Rex, inside the old Boiler room