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.

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.

Map of the Tunnels, latest update (Sept 2019)

Edge Hill Tunnels Map - Sept 2019
Joseph Williamson’s Tunnels – The known & Suspected Tunnels in Edge Hill (updated Sept 2019) To view the map at full size, click on the image

Since FoWT first produced their map of the tunnels, back in Feb 2016, it has been constantly evolving as we continue our research and progress with our digging and clearing of Joseph Williamson’s subterranean world. This map has been well referenced by many organisation and individuals alike since its creation.

The latest September 2019 update, includes several accuracy updates and tweaks to existing tunnels, as well as not one but two new tunnels recently discovered.

The first new tunnel found is located on the former Mr. Kassim’ land at the back of Williamson’s house site. The Tunnel was found by the developers whilst surveying for tunnel locations. The arch looked be complete, being aprox 6 metres below ground and being between 7 and 9 metres wide. We do not yet have access to this yet, we hope that we will be able to in the coming months.

The second new tunnel was found by us, under the former Merseyflex Land. We had been given permission to have a dig by Liverpool City Council using a JCB, you can read about this discovery here. Finding this tunnel has helped to show the accuracy of the army survey and our map too.

You can view this latest map update at full size by clicking on the image, or you can head to our map web page,  here.

Major New Tunnel Discovered

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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site. Alisdair, Robin and Tom exploring.

Look on our map of the Williamson’s Tunnels and you see that some tunnels are shown in orange. These Tunnels were surveyed by the Army in 1882 and 1907. So, we have always had a fair bit of confidence that these tunnels will be where the Army say they are.

Beneath the land where Merseyflex used to be, there are some of those tunnels mapped by the Army. Merseyflex has now relocated, and the building has been demolished, so we are grateful to Liverpool City Council for allowing us to have a dig in order to find the tunnels beneath the land.

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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site. Alisdair, Robin and Tom exploring.

We decided to rent a JCB and Driver for the week, so on Mon 16th Sept 2019 the JCB arrived on site.

We planned a similar dig on Merseyflex as we done on the Magnet’s Site a few years ago. Digging down to find clues and features from Williamson’s day. We immediately found the cellar that would have been beneath the original Williamson built house that once stood here. Revealing nice floor tiles, windows and doorways. We even unearthed the arch that headed out under Mason Street, towards the Williamson properties over the road. Sadly, this tunnel is just below the road surface and has been collapsed just a foot or so inside.

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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site. Robin and Tom exploring.

On day 2 of our dig, we turned the digging through 90° heading slightly towards Williamson’s House, at first, we didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, more openings, and even another arch passage. But then Robin, one of our volunteers noticed that a large floor slab was moving as the JCB bucket touched it. So, it was decided to lift that slab with the JCB to see if anything was being hidden. And what did we see…

There beneath the slab was a hole in the arch, just like we have found in Paddington and the Banqueting Hall. These holes were made in the arch to allow the chambers to be easily filled with the tons of rubble after Joseph Williamson’s death.

On finding this, we needed to make the site safe, before we could go down to take a look. Amazingly, what we found was an impressively large and complete Arched chamber.

I remember the feeling of excitement, being very much the same when we found Paddington. The thrill of being the first people to get into the tunnel in probably well over 100 years.

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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site.

The tunnel has a lovely design as can be seen in the photographs with the Arch being formed of lines of alternate brick and sandstone. The Arch is approx. 4 meters down below ground level and is 13.3 meters long. Width is a little harder for us to measure, as you can see there is a lot of infill and the Springing of the Arch is not visible, meaning we are not seeing the full width of the Tunnel. But we feel that it will be at least 6 to 7 meters or even more wide. We do not know how deep this tunnel will be either, we suspect it could be a deep one…

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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site.

This is a great find for the Friends, and helps to confirm the accuracy of our map of Tunnels. In the short term, we will need to reseal the tunnel but in the long term we will be seeking the permission to reopen this tunnel permanently and to maybe set about emptying it too.

What will we find next?

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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site.
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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site.
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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site.
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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site.
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The New Tunnel beneath the Former Merseyflex site.


Updated (Sat 05/10/2019)

We were delighted that a few days later, the Liverpool Echo covered FoWT’s news of our big find on Page 3.

Liverpool Echo 1.10.2019
Liverpool Echo, page 3. Tuesday 1st October 2019

Liverpool Echo online: New images reveal cavernous new chamber discovered at Williamson’s Tunnels

FoWT Feature in new TV documentary

“Underground Worlds” the series trailer. Follow this link to watch the complete episode 3, featuring FoWT

 

A few months ago, “Phoenix Television” spent a busy few days with us at the Williamson’s Tunnels in order to film a new upcoming, 10 part TV series “Underground Worlds“.

Tom, Kaitlyn & Chris took part in the filming. Tom & Chris Spent a few days being followed by the camera, being intervied and doing what seemed the silliest thing, Noddies (looking at the camera and nodding)! These few days in front of the camera were enjoyable, but it was also one of the most stressful few days too.

We have had confirmation as to when the series and of course more importantly, our episode will air.

Transmission of the 10 part series starts on Wednesday 25th September 2019 at 8pm on the Yesterday Channel. It has now been confirmed that our particular episode, is No: 5 of 10 and will be transmitted on Wednesday 23rd October 2019 – but do keep an eye out in case the transmission order or dates change, it has already changed once in the last 2 days.

For our American members, the series will be transmitted in America too on a date and channel yet to be announced.

Put it in your diaries and enjoy 😊


Updated (Sat 05/10/2019)

I have been told that the schedule of this excellent new 10 part series, Underground Worlds may have been changed. I believe the Episode featuring #FoWT will now Air on Wednesday 9th October at 8 pm on the Yesterday Channel.

Be sure to tune in, we hope you enjoy it…


Updated (Fri 18/10/2019)

The Series of Underground Worlds, can be watched online on UKTV Play on demand.

The compete episode 3, of Underground Worlds, which featured the Williamson’s Tunnels and FoWT can be seen by following this link:

“Underground Worlds”, Episode 3 – featuring FoWT

We have been delighted to receive some very positive feedback following our episode. It would seem that this TV series has done very well and as a result, we were also featured in an article by the Daily Mirror newspaper about the Underground Worlds, you can see this online article here:

Daily Mirror newspaper article – “Underground Worlds”, featuring FoWT