Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

See Liverpool’s lost Williamson tunnels unearthed

Although there have been various small tunnel systems around Glasgow that have been of interest over the years, I don’t think any have ever had groups or societies formed to remember them, or preserve them. The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that most are quickly closed, blocked, or filled in by the authorities or ‘City Fathers’, apparently keen to prevent anyone getting near them in the name of ‘health and safety’ or some such made-up excuse.

One lost opportunity that comes to mind is centres on the two rotunda which lie on opposite sides of the River Clyde, just outside the city centre, and provided access to a tunnel under the river, which patrons could reach via hydraulic lifts, and this was back in Victorian times. In their day, the two rotunda were constructed over shafts which provided access to two vehicular tunnels and one pedestrian tunnel under the river. One can’t help but think that such a thing could be a significant tourist magnet today, even if only static and not working, or perhaps even partially, and could have been annexed to the transport museum, and provided two unique buildings which could have housed some period exhibits as well.

As can be seen from this handy pic from 2007, they have tried to sell the building, but never find any takers:

Instead, one became an assorted mish-mash of restaurants and a casino (last time I looked, at least), while the other is is derelict after being revived back in the days of the Glasgow Garden Festival of 1988, operated as a Discovery Centre, and is now a B listed Building at risk.

In 2011, they tried tidying it up as part of a renewed effort to find a new owner (still unsuccessful, as far as I am aware, at the time of writing):

See also South Rotunda, Building, South Rotunda Glasgow.

Williamson Tunnels

Meanwhile, in Liverpool:

Volunteers in Liverpool are giving up their free time to clear out a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels that lurk beneath the city’s Edge Hill area.

The Friends of the Williamson Tunnels are removing the results of decades of Victorian “fly-tipping”, hoping one day to expose tunnels which they believe could stretch for miles.

The tunnels were built and conceived in the early 19th century by eccentric businessman Joseph Williamson, who paid soldiers returning from the Napoleonic war to build them. No records were kept of how far they stretch, nor which direction they go in.

After Williamson’s death in 1840, the tunnels fell into disrepair. The site currently being cleared was filled with over 100 years’ worth of ash and debris from a local bakery.

via BBC News – Liverpool’s lost Williamson tunnels unearthed.

For more info on the Williamson Tunnels, see:

Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre

Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels


March 16, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , ,

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