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Greenwich and Woolwich Thames tunnels get £11m facelift

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:36 05 October 2010

The Greenwich tunnel... first opened 108 years ago

The Greenwich tunnel... first opened 108 years ago

PLANS have been unveiled to give two iconic Edwardian pedestrian tunnels deep under the Thames 21st century makeovers. The 108-year-old Greenwich foot tunnel to the Isle of Dogs and its 98-year-old younger sister’ at Woolwich are getting an £11m revamp

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PLANS have been unveiled to give two iconic Edwardian pedestrian tunnels deep under the Thames in East London 21st century makeovers.

The 108-year-old tunnel connecting historic Greenwich on the south bank to the Isle of Dogs on the other side and its 98-year-old younger sister’ at Woolwich are getting an £11 million revamp, unveiled last night by Sheppard Robson architects.

The tunnels together are used by around one-and-a-half million pedestrians and cyclists every year.

But the Grade II-listed “magnificent feats of Edwardian engineering” are run down, dark, unwelcoming and in some places leaking, says Building Design architects’ journal.

The project will shore up the tunnels and repair the glass domes on the rotunda entrances, add new lifts, repair the iron spiral staircases and improve CCTV.

The plans also include new lighting with splashes of colour to make the tunnels “a more welcoming environment.”

The tunnels are London landmarks that have been neglected far too long, says the report. But despite their faded grandeur, they exhibit “timeless qualities that testify to the enterprise of the engineering age.”

The cash is coming from the Government’s Community Fund and work is expected to be complete in March next year.

The older Greenwich tunnel was opened by the London County Council in 1902 for dockers from south London to get to work at the Millwall Docks on the Isle of Dogs. It runs between Cutty Sark Gardens and Millwall’s Island Gardens, more than 1,100ft long and 50ft deep.

Its younger sister’ Woolwich tunnel opened 10 years later in 1912, nearly five miles downriver where the Thames is wider, and spans 1,500ft from Woolwich on the south bank to the Royal Docks on the north side.


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