Director’s Diary: Isambard Brunel dans son cabaret

Last week visits from Subterranea Britannica, UCL, primary schools and an Arts Society. And of course concerts and river walks and cocktails. 
 
This week Secret Adventures for underground film & cocktails, and on Saturday the welcome return of Down the Shaft our own underground cabaret.
 MA-TV in the shaft-2
This week is also the anniversary of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s underground cabaret in 1827. The painting is by George Jones:
In the western archway, draped in crimson, a long table was covered in white damask and elaborately set with silver and crystal for a sumptuous banquet. Fifty selected guests feasted, lit by decorative candelabra from the Portable Gas Company, whilst the uniformed band of the Coldstream guards played the National Anthem, Rule Britannia, See the Conquering Hero Comes. The gleam of their instruments can be faintly seen on the red dais in the background. Above the deafening noise, hoarse guests toasted,  ‘The King’,  ‘The Duke of Clarence’ and ‘The Duke of Wellington’.
The two figures conferring in the foreground of the picture are Marc Isambard and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This is the only painting of father and son together. Inspired public relations restored confidence in a Tunnel safe enough for dinner parties, but eleven weeks later the Thames broke into the Tunnel again and young Brunel, half drowned, was sent to Clifton to convalesce. The project closed down and poet Thomas Hood said the tunnel was only good for wine racks. 
 
Seven years later, the Fellows of The Royal Society met in the pub across the road on Marc Brunels birthday to found the Tunnel Club and lobby for government funds. The Tunnel opened to the public in 1843 and for trains in 1869. In November 2016 HRH Prince Edward Earl of Wessex opened the underground chamber or Grand Entrance Hall as a gallery and theatre. Every Saturday, after our heritage boat trip, the Tunnel Club meets for lunch in the same upper room of the same pub and toasts the health of Sir Marc Brunel. The pub is called The Mayflower.  
Royal entertainment at the world’s first underwater banquet and concert party…
 
Sunday 5th Nov 
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks
15.30 Japanese group visit
Monday 6th Nov 
10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks
Tuesday 7th Nov
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks 
15.30 Walking group
Wednesday 8th Nov
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
18.15 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks
Thursday 9th Nov
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
18.00 Secret Adventures Film & cocktails in the Grand Entrance Hall 
 
Friday 10th Nov
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
Saturday 11th Nov
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
13.30 lunch at the Tunnel Club, Mayflower pub upper room 
17.30 Down the Shaft Cabaret & cocktails with Midnight Apothecary and Tricity Vogue
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