Tower Subway

The maps and pictures on this page show material related to Tower Subway. The Tower Subway is a tunnel beneath the River Thames in central London, between Tower Hill on the north side of the river and Vine Lane (off Tooley Street) on the south. In 1869 a circular tunnel was dug through the London clay using a wrought iron shield, a method that had been patented in 1864 by Peter W. Barlow. A gauge railway was laid in the tunnel and from August 1870 a cable-hauled wooden carriage conveyed passengers from one end to the other. This was uneconomic and the company went bankrupt by the end of the year. The tunnel was converted to pedestrian use and one million people a year crossed under the river, paying a toll of d. When the toll-free Tower Bridge opened in 1894 this caused a drop in income and the tunnel closed in 1898, after being sold to the London Hydraulic Power Company. The tunnel today is used for water mains.

The same method of construction was used in 1890 to dig the tunnels of the City and South London Railway, the first of London's "Tube" railways.



In 1864 Peter Barlow patented a method of tunnelling using a circular wrought iron or steel shield and filling the gap between the tunnel lining with lime or cement to prevent settling of the ground above. He published a pamphlet in 1867 suggesting a network of tunnels with cars carrying up to 12 people. In 1868 authority was obtained for a tunnel under the Thames between Great Tower Hill and Pickle Herring Stairs near Vine Street (now Vine Lane), but there was a delay finding a contractor due to recent experiences with the Thames Tunnel until his former pupil James Henry Greathead tendered for £9,400.

Work began in February 1869 with the boring of entrance shafts, deep on the north bank and deep on the south bank. The tunnelling itself started in April and, using the circular shield, a tunnel long was dug with a diameter of, a maximum of below the high-water level. This was bored through a stable layer of the London clay that lay below the river bed, below the soft alluvial deposits that had plagued the construction by Brunel of the earlier Thames Tunnel. This, combined with the simpler nature of the project – the excavation face was only one twentieth that of the Thames Tunnel – enabled faster progress. Screw jacks drove the shield forward at a rate of each week. The under-river section was dug in fourteen weeks and the tunnel completed in December.

Cable railway

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Close places of interest

Tower Millennium Pier (0.11 km)

Tower Millennium Pier is a pier on the River Thames, in London, UK. It is operated by London River Services and served by various river transport and cruise operators. The pier is close to Tower Bridge and is situated immediately adjacent to the Tower of London, next to the Traitors' Gate. Services The pier is used by river bus services from Embankment to Woolwich (operated by Thames Clipper) and Westminster-Greenwich tourist boats (operated by City Cruises). Private-charter entertainment boats also use Tower Pier.

St. Peter ad Vincula (London) (0.14 km)

For other churches of this dedication, see St Peter ad Vincula (disambiguation). The Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula ("St. Peter in chains") is the parish church of the Tower of London. It is situated within the Tower's Inner Ward and dates from 1520. It is a Royal Peculiar. The name refers to St. Peter's imprisonment under Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem. The Chapel is probably best known as the burial place of some of the most famous prisoners executed at the Tower.

Byward Street (0.16 km)

Byward Street is a road in the City of London, the historic and financial centre of London. It forms part of the A3211 route and, if travelling eastward, is a short continuation of Lower Thames Street from a junction with Great Tower Street, to Tower Hill. It is located within the City ward of Tower. History Constructed between 1895 and 1906 through the Met. and Dist. Railways (City Lines and Extensions) Act, 1882, Byward Street replaced the much older Black Swan Court, itself the successor to a Roman foundation.

Tower Hill Memorial (0.17 km)

The Tower Hill Memorial is a national war memorial on the south side of Trinity Square Gardens, just to the north of the Tower of London. It commemorates those from the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets who died during both world wars and have "no grave but the sea". The First World War memorial takes the form of a vaulted corridor, 21.5 metres long, 7 metres wide and 7 to 10 metres high. Inside are 12 bronze plaques engraved with 12,000 names. It was opened by Queen Mary on 12 December 1928.

Jewel House (0.19 km)

The Jewel House in the Tower of London is both a building and an institution. Until 1782 it was the Department of the Jewel Office, under the Master of the Jewel Office, who was generally a senior politician. History A Keeper of the Crown Jewels was appointed in 1207. Over the subsequent centuries his title varied, from Keeper of the King's Jewels, Master of the Jewel House, Master and Treasurer of the King's Jewels and Plate, or Keeper of the Jewel House. He was also Treasurer of the Chamber, a division of the Royal Household of the Sovereign.

Other mentions of Tower Subway

Wapping Hydraulic Power Station

The Wapping Hydraulic Power Station (built 1890) was originally run by the London Hydraulic Power Company in Wapping, London, England. Originally it operated using steam and later it was converted to use electricity. It was used to power machinery, including lifts, across London. The Tower Subway was used to transfer the power, and steam, to districts south of the river. The surviving complex consists of the engine house, boiler house, water tank, accumulator tower, reservoir, foreman's house, 7 1950s throw ram pumps, a 1950s pilot accumulator, 2 cranes, 2 transformers and switchgear.
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