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

Lord Mayor & High Sheriff pay us a visit

On Wednesday 19th Feb, we were honoured to welcome Anna Rothery, Liverpool Lord Mayor and David Steer, the High Sheriff of Merseyside along with Mrs. Steer and their son Oliver on a tour of the Williamson’s Tunnels. They started at Williamson’s House, descending down into the Wine Bins, Sandstone Arch, Gash and the Banqueting Hall then on to Paddington.

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Lord Mayor and the High Sheriff of Merseyside, in our office

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Lord Mayor and the High Sheriff of Merseyside, at the bottom of the Gash in the Banqueting Hall

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The Lord Mayor in Paddington
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The Lord Mayor at the Bottom of the Gash in the Banqueting Hall

In addition to the Lord Mayor and High Sheriff’s visit, we were busy with regular visitors and also a group of third year architecture students from John Moores University, who will be using us for their study project.

FoWT up for 2nd major Tourism Award

You may remember us winning the ‘Hidden Gem’ Category of the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards 2019, this was a very proud day indeed for all the volunteers of FoWT. We are delighted to be able to report that FoWT have once again been shortlisted for the ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ award in Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards 2020.

The list of small visitor attractions in the running for this year’s award are:

  • Everton Football Club
  • Friends of Williamson Tunnels
  • Mersey Tunnel Tours
  • Royal Liver Building 360
  • The Palm House Sefton Park

Which means, we are up against some amazing and tough competition, each of these attractions being worthy of winning this award. So we can but hope that we can win for a second year. Fingers crossed, but whatever happens we are thrilled to be in the running.

We wish all taking part in the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards 2020 the best of luck. 

@LCRTourismAward

#LCRTA20

A new Journey of a Bucket

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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

 

 

Mysterious Blue Plaque appears at Williamson’s house

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Wiliamson’s house front, with the mystery Plaque

A very strange thing has happened. On opening the Mason Street gate onto the house site for the first dig of 2020, we received quite a shock.

Up on the wall of Joseph Williamson’s house façade is a new blue plaque, not one of the official English Heritage Plaques, but never the less a nice blue oval plaque with details about the house front and FoWT.

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The mystery Plaque

The mystery is, we have no idea who created or even fitted the plaque. The plaque appeared sometime during the Christmas & New Year break. Of course, we are delighted to see it in place and would love to know who put it there, we send our thanks to that anonymous, mystery person.