When the Thames Tunnel opened in 1843, Sir Marc Brunel’s Rotherhithe shaft was transformed into the Rotherhithe Grand Entrance Hall. Millions of visitors descended the grand staircases to visit one of the great wonders of the Victorian age.
The Grand Entrance Hall was closed to the public for 150 years, but can be visited today on one of the regular tours organised by the Brunel Museum.
How grateful should today's travellers be to Isambard Kingdom Brunel? Well, during a career cut short by his death, aged 53, in 1859, this engineering genius became the father of urban mass transit systems, inter-city rail transport and intercontinental passenger shipping. He even found time to design the odd boutique hotel ... so, quite a lot. "