Brunel Thames Tunnel


What many commuters to and from Wapping do not realise as they arrive at its station is that they are passing through the world’s very first underwater tunnel. Built between 1825 and 1843, the tunnel was designed to take horsedrawn carriages from Wapping to Rotherhithe and employed new tunnelling shield technology by Thomas Cochrane and Marc Isambard Brunel, father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. When it opened, people were so astonished that the tunnel was described as the eighth wonder of the world and 50 000 people paid a penny on its first day alone to walk in it from one side of the river to the other. In fact it became so popular that the tunnel swiftly became the world’s most successful tourist attraction. It now takes London Overground trains underneath the river.


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