Blackwall Tunnel

Tunnel in/near River Thames, existing between 1897 and now.

(51.504 -0.004, 51.504 -0.004) 
MAP YEAR:175018001810182018301860190019502024 
Use the control in the top right of the map above to view this area on another historic map
Tunnel · * · SE10 ·
The Blackwall Tunnel is a pair of road tunnels which pass underneath the River Thames.

The tunnel links the London Borough of Tower Hamlets with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and forms part of the A102 road.

A tunnel in the Blackwall area was originally proposed in the 1880s. According to Robert Webster, then MP for St Pancras East, a tunnel would "be very useful to the East End of London, a district representing in trade and commerce a population greater than the combined populations of Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham." By this time, all road bridges in London east of the ferry at Chiswick were toll-free, but these were of little use to the two fifths of London’s population that lived to the east of London Bridge. The Thames Tunnel (Blackwall) Act was created in August 1887, which provided the legal framework necessary to construct the tunnel. The initial proposal, made by Sir Joseph Bazalgette, called for three parallel tunnels, two for vehicular traffic and one for foot, with an expected completion date of works within seven years. It was originally commissioned by the Metropolitan Board of Works but, just before the contract was due to start, responsibility passed to the London County Council (LCC) when the former body was abolished in 1889 and Bazalgette’s work on the tunnel ended.

The original tunnel as built was designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and built by S. Pearson & Sons, between 1892 and 1897, for whom Ernest William Moir was the lead engineer. It was constructed using tunnelling shield and compressed air techniques and a Greathead shield (named after its inventor, James Henry Greathead). It was lit by three rows of incandescent street lights. To clear the site in Greenwich, more than 600 people had to be rehoused, and a house reputedly once owned by Sir Walter Raleigh had to be demolished. The work force was largely drawn from immigrants; the tunnel lining was manufactured in Glasgow, while the manual labour came from provincial England, particularly Yorkshire.

The southern entrance gateway to the tunnel, also known as Southern Tunnel House, was designed by LCC architect Thomas Blashill and was built just before the tunnel was completed. It comprises two floors with an attic.

The tunnel was officially opened by the Prince of Wales on 22 May 1897. The total cost of the tunnel was £1.4 M and 800 men were employed in its construction, during which seven deaths were recorded.

The tunnel has several sharp bends, in order that the tunnel could align with Northumberland Wharf to the north and Ordnance Wharf to the south, and avoid a sewer underneath Bedford Street.

Horse-drawn traffic was partially banned from the tunnel during peak hours in July 1939 and completely banned in August 1947. Pedestrians have been banned from using the Blackwall Tunnels since May 1969.

Due to the increase in motor traffic in the early 20th century, the capacity of the original tunnel was soon perceived as inadequate. In 1930, John Mills, MP for Dartford, remarked that HGVs delivering from Essex to Kent could not practically use any crossing of the Thames downstream of the tunnel. The LCC obtained an act to construct a new tunnel in 1938, but work did not start due to the outbreak of World War II. Construction eventually started in 1958 with preliminary work on the northern approach road.

It was opened on 2 August 1967 by Desmond Plummer, Leader of the Greater London Council.

Main source: Wikipedia
Further citations and sources


None so far :(

Lived here
Added: 20 Jul 2024 01:13 GMT   

Whitechapel (1980 - 1981)
Diana Lee-Gobbitt - Artist rented a room at No 1 Berner Street, Whitechapel, opposite Church Passage (Ripper territory) for one year, rent approx 3 pounds pw. Worked as Receptionist for n Indian import/export company in the Watney Markets. Owner of No 1 Berner Street was Sammy Ferrugia, Maltese Taxi company owner. The artist was shown the gambling den in Dutfield’s Yard behind the terrace houses. It was common local knowledge prostitution was high end income for those in the East End during the 1950s.


Added: 7 Jul 2024 16:26 GMT   

Haycroft Gardens, NW10
My Grandfather bought No 45 Buchanan Gdns in I believe 1902 and died ther in the early 1950s

Added: 7 Jul 2024 16:20 GMT   

Haycroft Gardens, NW10
I lived in No 7 from 1933 to 1938


Sylvia guiver   
Added: 4 Jul 2024 14:52 GMT   

Grandparents 1937 lived 37 Blandford Square
Y mother and all her sisters and brother lived there, before this date , my parent wedding photographers were take in the square, I use to visit with my mother I remember the barge ballon in the square in the war.

Born here
Roy Mathieson   
Added: 27 Jun 2024 16:25 GMT   

St Saviours
My great grandmother was born in Bowling Green Lane in 1848. The family moved from there to Earl Terrace, Bermondsey in 1849. I have never been able to locate Earl Terrace on maps.


Added: 26 Jun 2024 13:10 GMT   

Buckhurst Street, E1
Mt grandfather, Thomas Walton Ward had a musical instrument workshop in Buckhurst Street from 1934 until the street was bombed during the war. Grandfather was a partner in the musical instrument firm of R.J. Ward and Sons of Liverpool. He died in 1945 and is buried in a common grave at Abney Park Cemetery.

Lived here
Mike Dowling   
Added: 15 Jun 2024 15:51 GMT   

Family ties (1936 - 1963)
The Dowling family lived at number 13 Undercliffe Road for
Nearly 26 years. Next door was the Harris family

Evie Helen   
Added: 13 Jun 2024 00:03 GMT   

Vickers Road
The road ’Vickers Road’ is numbered rather differently to other roads in the area as it was originally built as housing for the "Vickers" arms factory in the late 1800’s and early 1900s. Most of the houses still retain the original 19th century tiling and drainage outside of the front doors.


Blackfriars Blackfriars station was opened on 30 May 1870, by the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR), now the District line.

Arundel House, WC2R Arundel House is a block on Temple Place (Temple)
Aspect Court, SW6 Aspect Court is a block on The Boulevard (River Thames)
Barge House Street, SE1 Barge House Street is a renamed section of Upper Ground Street (South Bank)
Battersea Bridge, SW3 Battersea Bridge, a five-span arch bridge with cast-iron girders and granite piers links Battersea south of the River Thames with Chelsea to the north (River Thames)
Blackfriars Bridge, EC4V Blackfriars Bridge serves as a road and pedestrian bridge spanning the River Thames (City of London)
Blackfriars Lane, EC4V Blackfriars Lane is one of the streets of London in the EC4V postal area (City of London)
Blackfriars Underpass, EC4V Blackfriars Underpass is one of the streets of London in the EC4V postal area (City of London)
Brick Court, EC4Y Brick Court is one of the streets of London in the EC4Y postal area (City of London)
Bridge Street, TW10 Bridge Street is a road in the TW9 postcode area (River Thames)
Bridge Walk, EC4V Bridge Walk is a road in the SE8 postcode area (River Thames)
Brunel House, SW10 Brunel House is located on Cheyne Walk (River Thames)
Canterbury Way, DA2 Canterbury Way is one of the official names for the road that is the Dartford Tunnel (River Thames)
Carmelite House, EC4Y Carmelite House is sited on Victoria Embankment (City of London)
Cheyne Walk, SW10 Cheyne Walk is one of the streets of London in the SW10 postal area (River Thames)
Cumberland Mills Square, E14 A street within the E14 postcode (River Thames)
Dartford Bypass, DA2 Dartford Bypass is a road in the DA2 postcode area (River Thames)
Dartford Tunnel, DA2 Dartford Tunnel is a road in the DA2 postcode area (River Thames)
Doctor Johnsons Buildings, EC4Y Doctor Johnsons Buildings is one of the streets of London in the EC4Y postal area (City of London)
Falcon Point Piazza, SE1 Falcon Point Piazza is a road in the SE1 postcode area (South Bank)
Farringdon Road, EC4V Farringdon Road is a road in the EC4A postcode area (City of London)
Golden Jubilee Bridge, WC2N Golden Jubilee Bridge is a road in the WC2N postcode area (River Thames)
Hamilton House, EC4Y Hamilton House is a block on Temple Avenue (City of London)
Harcourt Buildings, EC4Y Harcourt Buildings is one of the streets of London in the EC4Y postal area (City of London)
John Carpenter House, EC4Y John Carpenter House is a block on John Carpenter Street (City of London)
John Carpenter Street, EC4Y John Carpenter was town clerk of the City of London in the fifteenth century, and founder of the City of London School (City of London)
Lambeth Bridge, SE1 Lambeth Bridge is a road in the SE1 postcode area (River Thames)
Limekiln Dock bridge, E14 Limekiln Dock bridge is a road in the E14 postcode area (River Thames)
New Court, EC4V New Court is one of the streets of London in the EC4Y postal area (City of London)
Old Barge House Alley, SE1 This is an article about Old Barge House Alley (South Bank)
Oxo Tower Wharf, SE1 A street within the SE1 postcode (South Bank)
Paul’s Walk, EC3N A street within the EC3N postcode (River Thames)
Platts Lane, WC1R Platts Lane is a location in London (South Bank)
Plowden Buildings, EC4Y Plowden Buildings is one of the streets of London in the EC4Y postal area (City of London)
PO Box 4, WC2R Essex Street is a location in London (Temple)
Puddle Dock, EC4V Puddle Dock is one of the streets of London in the EC4V postal area (City of London)
Putney Bridge Approach, SW6 Putney Bridge Approach is one of the streets of London in the SW6 postal area (River Thames)
Putney Bridge, SW15 Putney Bridge is a road in the SW15 postcode area (River Thames)
Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, DA2 Queen Elizabeth II Bridge is part of the Dartford Crossing (River Thames)
Riverside Tower, SW6 Riverside Tower can be found on The Boulevard (River Thames)
Riverside Walk, SE1 Riverside Walk is a road in the SE1 postcode area (South Bank)
Southwark Bridge, EC4V Southwark Bridge is one of the streets of London in the SE1 postal area (River Thames)
Southwark Bridge, SE1 This is a street in the EC4R postcode area (River Thames)
Sugar Quay Walk, EC3N Sugar Quay Walk is part of the Thames Path near to the Tower of London (River Thames)
Tallis House, EC4Y Tallis House is a block on Tallis Street (City of London)
Tallis Street, EC4Y This street honours Thomas Tallis, composer whose name is engraved on the façade of the nearby former building of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (City of London)
Temple Gardens, EC4Y Temple Gardens is one of the streets of London in the EC4Y postal area (City of London)
Temple House, WC2R Temple House is sited on Tweezers Alley (Temple)
Temple Place, WC2R Temple Place forms a crescent behind the Embankment Gardens (Temple)
Thames Towpath, SW10 Thames Towpath is a road in the SW10 postcode area (River Thames)
The Arches, TW9 A street within the TW9 postcode (River Thames)
The Globe House, WC2R The Globe House is a building on Temple Place (Temple)
The Promenade, SW13 The Promenade is a road in the SW13 postcode area (River Thames)
The Promenade, W4 The Promenade is a road in the W4 postcode area (River Thames)
Tower Bridge, SE1 Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge, built between 1886 and 1894 (River Thames)
Tower Pier, EC3N Tower Pier is a location in London (River Thames)
Unilever House, EC4Y Unilever House is a block on Victoria Embankment (City of London)
Vauxhall Bridge, SW1P Vauxhall Bridge is a road in the SW1P postcode area (River Thames)
Victoria Embankment, EC4Y Victoria Embankment is part of the Thames Embankment scheme of 19th-century civil engineering that reclaimed land next to the River Thames (City of London)
Victoria Embankment, SW1A Victoria Embankment leads north out of the Westminster area (River Thames)
Water Street, WC2R This is a street in the WC2R postcode area (Temple)
Waterfront Drive, SW10 Waterfront Drive is a location in London (River Thames)
Watergate, EC4Y Watergate is one of the streets of London in the EC4Y postal area (City of London)
Westminster Bridge, SE1 Westminster Bridge links Westminster on the west side with Lambeth on the east side (River Thames)
Westminster Pier, SW1A Westminster Pier is one of the streets of London in the SW1A postal area (River Thames)

Click here to explore another London street
We now have 666 completed street histories and 46834 partial histories

Click here to see photos of the area

  Contact us · Copyright policy · Privacy policy