Tunnel Walks 2014
The Thames Tunnel, now part of London Overground, is the oldest tunnel in the oldest underground system in the world. We organise Train Tours every week and lobby for Tunnel Walks whenever possible. For more information on the different events held at the Brunel Museum click on the “Events” tab.
Tunnel Walks May 2014
For only the second time in 150 years we were able to offer guided walks through the Tunnel. These events take place during planned engineering works, and we are very grateful to Transport for London and London Overground for giving their consent. For the last public walk, groups of fifty people left every 10 minutes for three days to walk from Rotherhithe station to Wapping.
Mayor of London and the Coldstream Guards, led thousands of people through the Tunnel to the Museum square for the re-launch of the Thames Tunnel Fancy Fair. The Guards played here once before, of course, at the famous Underwater banquet, organised by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1827. The square outside the museum was full of fairground entertainments, with acrobats, Victorian strongmen and sideshows. For the first time in a hundred and fifty years, people queued at Rotherhithe to walk under the river, and the event was covered by newspapers and television all over the world …
The Thames Tunnel opened in 1843 as tourist attraction and party venue, and Zoë Wanamaker describes the Grand Entrance Hall as ‘a spectacular underground gateway to the world’s first underwater theatre space’. This is not just an International Landmark Site, it opened as a Victorian Rave! History books tell us that people did not simply enter the Tunnel to reach Wapping: they were buying tickets for a place in history. Transport for London sometimes close the railway for engineering work and on these days The Brunel Museum lobbies to bring back some of the magic and excitement that was under the river before the trains came…
Three times a week we offer Guided Train Tours through the Tunnel. The best view under the river is from Wapping platform. You are looking through the pillars and porticos of the world’s first underwater fairground. Download a self-guided tour here and look closely from the south end of the platform when the Tunnel is lit by passing London Overground trains.
Descents of the Grand Entrance Hall
Directly above the Tunnel is a secret underground chamber where Brunel nearly drowned. Today access is only possible by low doorway and temporary staircase, but this was once a spectacular underground theatre. We are fundraising to fit out the space for entertainments in the grand style. Guided descents take place five times a week, and on special events like the Midnight Apothecary and for Open House Weekend, Open Garden Squares Weekend and other advertised days.