Visit London Blog » bermondsey Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Brunel Museum and Thames Tunnel Tour Fri, 27 Aug 2010 10:18:12 +0000 Brunel Museum exterior Very important plaque Rotherhithe Station on the new East London Line. The tunnel runs Rotherhithe-Wapping The twin tunnels under the Thames The Brunel Tunnel once contained shops and entertainers Brunel Museum's Robert Hulse gives a fascinating commentary The slightly scary scaffolding down into the Grand Entrance Hall The circular Grand Entrance Hall - hard to capture on film! Emerging from the not-so-grand entrance to the Grand Entrance Hall

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe and did a tour of the Thames Tunnel and Grand Entrance Hall. It was fascinating.

Father and son team Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel began construction on the Thames tunnel in 1825. It was meant to take three years. It took 18 and was described by tunnel workers as “the worst job in the world”.

When it finally opened, the Thames Tunnel represented a feat of engineering never before seen in the world. It was the first under-river tunnel of its kind, the birthplace of the Tube (globally, as London’s was the first underground railway system).

Although intended for transporting goods off ships beneath the Thames, due to a lack of pulleys, the tunnel’s first use, explained our thoroughly entertaining tour guide Robert Hulse (director of the Brunel Museum), was as an underwater “shopping mall”. And, while the stalls and “Underwater Fancy Fair” attracted astonishing numbers of visitors from day one, the tunnel eventually became a place for shady dealings and, if you’ll pardon the pun, underworld characters.

I won’t say more, because you should see it for yourself. Even better – join a Brunel Museum tour of the tunnel by train (the newly opened East London line goes right through Brunel’s tunnel) and/or take the Thamesside Walk through Bermondsey and Rotherhithe this Bank Holiday Weekend, which includes a tour of the Grand Entrance Hall.

Brunel Museum:
Thamesside Walk: Meet at Bermondsey Tube Station Monday 30 August 2010 at 1.30pm (£8, concs. £6)

The Brunel Museum’s nearest station is Rotherhithe on the new East London line. The Brunel is one  of the Culture Line museums

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Photo of the Week: London Skyline from Vertigo 42 Fri, 23 Oct 2009 13:48:48 +0000 London and the Thames from Vertigo 42 by Sami Susiaho

This week’s photo is a view looking south over HMS Belfast, City Hall and Tower Bridge from Vertigo 42 by Sami Susiaho.

Have you taken any stunning pictures of London? Share them with us in the Visit London Flickr pool.

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