YouTuber Martin Zero visits us

Trustee Lynn, contacted Manchester based Explorer and video maker Martin Zero inviting him to visit the Williamson’s Tunnels. Martin has a YouTube Channel with over 41k subscribers to his channel.

Mike Rogers, FoWT Guide, took Martin and Connor on a full tour of both Paddington and the Williamson’s House site on Mason Street. During his vist, he filmed and interviewed Mike for his YouTube channel. Martin was amazed by what he saw, we hope he will visit us again one day.

You can watch Martin’s two part video here:

Part 1

 

Part 2

Or you can Find Martin Zero’s YouTube Channel here, where there are lots of very interesting video’s of interesting explores, including the two new videos of the Williamson’s Tunnels.

Our History is a Hit, with the History Guy…

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Dan in Paddington

FoWT were delighted to welcome Dan Snow, Historian and Patron of the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels on 1st Feb 2019. Dan came to catch up on our progress digging out the tunnels and to film in both the Paddington and Mason Street sites for Dan’s History Hit TV channel https://tv.historyhit.com/.

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This was Dan’s second visit and we were thrilled that Dan found the time to come to see us whilst he was in Liverpool performing his Dan Snow on Live Tour 2019 show, “An Evening with Dan Snow”.

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Dan and Gordon, our Chairman
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Dan emerging from the new tunnel

 

New Tunnel update…

You will no doubt have read that we recently discovered a new rock cut tunnel within the Banqueting Hall. This small tunnel leads from the trench in the Banqueting Hall floor, through the bedrock wall and into yet another chamber. We have long suspected that there could be another chamber or passage alongside the Banqueting Hall. So the discovery of this was very exciting indeed. Joseph Williamson’s long lost subterranean World continues giving up its secrets.

The rock cut tunnel is around 3ft deep, extending into the bedrock wall of the Banqueting Hall. We have managed to get just inside this chamber, though we were initially asked not to dig the infill out from within the chamber until it was established that the brick built arched roof was complete and of course safe. We are delighted to report that we have completed the required method statement and risk assessments to enable us to dig out the infill in a safe and controlled manner so that the arched roof can be examined for safety. Once we know that the roof is complete and safe, we will of course aim to empty the chamber.

However, first impression suggests that the arch is intact and safe. We sent a GoPro camera up to the top of the roof on a long pole to get a good look at the roof and to our surprise, there is yet another nice sandstone arched tunnel as can be seen in the video.

So where might this arch take us? Well we would like to think it will take us to the long lost Great Tunnel. It is possible, given this chamber’s depth of approximately 37ft below ground level. Time will tell…

It will take us quite a while to empty the infill from inside, giving us full access to the chamber. Though we will of course update you with news on this dig as and when we have it. So stay tuned to Twitter, Facebook and of course right here for updates.

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.

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View looking down into Williamson’s Kitchen, with the house bay window on the left
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Inside the Kitchen showing the large sink and fireplaces with their ranges
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The Kitchen looking towards the rear of the house
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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…

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This, the newly opened up Boiler room, note the staircase above.
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Tom and Rex, inside the old Boiler room

Joseph Williamson’s Kitchen continues to reveal its secrets…

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View of the basement of Williamson’s house, showing the rear wall and bay window. Inside, you can see the newly discovered Fireplaces in the kitchen.

Part of the work that has been taking place on Mason Street since starting our dig on this site, has been above ground. This work has been gradually exposing the basement of Williamson’s House, which includes the back wall and Bay Window of his house. In the last few weeks, we also uncovered a large fireplace, then right next to that a second, then a third and finally a fourth fireplace came into view. Each of these fireplaces have a different type of cooking range within. So would this have been Joseph Williamson’s kitchen?

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A Close-up of the fireplaces, showing the the ranges in each one
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What we think will be looking from the back yard of Williamson’s house, in through his rear bay window into the kitchen

We have also found some very interesting finds, by one these fireplaces. We unearthed a set of wooden items. Firstly we thought they would have been Spurtles, or a wooden Porridge stirring implements. However, the York Archaeological Trust has been giving us advice told us that they would have been Nautical Belaying Pins. The York Archaeological Trust are now preserving these items for us.

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These unusual items found in Williamson’s kitchem, first thought to be Spurtles, but now thought to be Belaying Pins.

It is nice that every now and then we find info or Historic Writings that match with where we are digging, well we think this is one of those occasions. Charles Hand was a historian in the early 1900’s who wrote about Joseph Williamson and his tunnels. Here you can see a snippet from the Transactions of Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire issue 79 – 1927. So we are confident that this kitchen area where Charles Hand wrote about here.

Extract from Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

Will we find more Fireplaces? Maybe not, but time will tell. Once the ranges inside the fireplaces are cleaned up, this will be quite an impressive area.

Watch this space…