Blackwall Tunnel

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

(51.504 -0.004, 51.504 -0.004) 
MAP YEAR:175018001810182018301860190019502023Show map without markers
ZOOM:14 15 16 17 14 15 16 17 14 15 16 17 14 15 16 17 14 15 16 17 14 15 16 17 14 15 16 17 18 14 15 16 17 14 15 16 17 18
TIP: To create a sharable map, right click on it above
Tunnel · River Thames · 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

Click here to explore another London street
We now have 642 completed street histories and 46858 partial histories
Find streets or residential blocks within the M25 by clicking STREETS


Lived here
Dawn Greene    
Added: 24 Aug 2017 13:08 GMT   

22 Emily Street
My dads family lived here in 1911 maybe before still checking that out the name was Emily Gladding lived at 22 Emily Street then she married George Cassilllo y

Lived here
Added: 16 Feb 2021 13:41 GMT   

Giraud Street
I lived in Giraud St in 1938/1939. I lived with my Mother May Lillian Allen & my brother James Allen (Known as Lenny) My name is Tom Allen and was evacuated to Surrey from Giraud St. I am now 90 years of age.



Born here
Added: 20 Sep 2023 21:10 GMT   

Momentous Birth!
I was born in the upstairs front room of 28 Tyrrell Avenue in August 1938. I was a breach birth and quite heavy ( poor Mum!). My parents moved to that end of terrace house from another rental in St Mary Cray where my three year older brother had been born in 1935. The estate was quite new in 1938 and all the properties were rented. My Father was a Postman. I grew up at no 28 all through WWII and later went to Little Dansington School


Mike Levy   
Added: 19 Sep 2023 18:10 GMT   

Bombing of Arbour Square in the Blitz
On the night of September 7, 1940. Hyman Lubosky (age 35), his wife Fay (or Fanny)(age 32) and their son Martin (age 17 months) died at 11 Arbour Square. They are buried together in Rainham Jewish Cemetery. Their grave stones read: "Killed by enemy action"


Lady Townshend   
Added: 8 Sep 2023 16:02 GMT   

Tenant at Westbourne (1807 - 1811)
I think that the 3rd Marquess Townshend - at that time Lord Chartley - was a tenant living either at Westbourne Manor or at Bridge House. He undertook considerable building work there as well as creating gardens. I am trying to trace which house it was. Any ideas gratefully received


Alex Britton   
Added: 30 Aug 2023 10:43 GMT   

Late opening
The tracks through Roding Valley were opened on 1 May 1903 by the Great Eastern Railway (GER) on its Woodford to Ilford line (the Fairlop Loop).

But the station was not opened until 3 February 1936 by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER, successor to the GER).

Source: Roding Valley tube station - Wikipedia

Kevin Pont   
Added: 30 Aug 2023 09:52 GMT   

Roding Valley is the quietest tube station, each year transporting the same number of passengers as Waterloo does in one day.


Kevin Pont   
Added: 30 Aug 2023 09:47 GMT   

The connection with Bletchley Park
The code-breaking computer used at Bletchley Park was built in Dollis Hill.

Kevin Pont   
Added: 29 Aug 2023 15:25 GMT   

The deepest station
At 58m below ground, Hampstead is as deep as Nelson’s Column is tall.

Source: Hampstead tube station - Wikipedia

Kevin Pont   
Added: 29 Aug 2023 15:15 GMT   

Not as Central as advertised...
Hendon Central was by no means the centre of Hendon when built, being a green field site. It was built at the same time as both the North Circular Road and the A41 were built as major truck roads �’ an early example of joined up London transport planning.


Blackwall Tunnel The Blackwall Tunnel is a pair of road tunnels which pass underneath the River Thames.
Poplar Dock Poplar Dock is a small dock that connects to the Blackwall Basin of the West India Docks.

Adventurers Court, E14 Adventurers Court is a block on Newport Avenue.
Arniston Way, E14 Arniston Way is a location in London.
Arora Tower, E14 Arora Tower can be found on Blackwall Tunnel.
Arran House, E14 Arran House is located on Prestons Road.
Aurora Building, E14 Aurora Building is a building on Blackwall Way.
Baffin Way, E14 Baffin Way is a newer road, dating from the 1990s.
Bartholomew Court, E14 Bartholomew Court is a block on Jamestown Way.
Biscayne Avenue, E14 Biscayne Avenue is a 1990s-vintage road
Blackwall Way, E14 Blackwall Way dates from the seventeenth century.
Blue Bridge, E14 Blue Bridge is a road in the SW1H postcode area
Bridge House Quay, E14 Bridge House Quay was part of the Wates Built Homes scheme designed by Whittam, Cox, Ellis & Clayton on the site of the Blackwall Graving Dock.
Cape Henry Court, E14 Cape Henry Court is located on Jamestown Way.
Charrington Tower, E14 Charrington Tower is a block on Biscayne Avenue.
Cold Harbour, E14 Cold Harbour is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Corona Building, E14 Corona Building is a block on Blackwall Way.
Dominion Walk, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Dy, E14 Despite its name, Longitude House lies 0.0019 degrees west of the Prime Meridian.
Fairmont Avenue, E14 Fairmont Avenue is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Folly Wall, E14 Folly Wall is a road in the E14 postcode area
Gaselee Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Horatio Place, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Horizons Tower, E14 Horizons Tower can be found on Yabsley Street.
Jamestown Way, E14 Jamestown Way is a road in the E14 postcode area
John Smith Mews, E14 John Smith Mews is a road of the Virginia Quay development.
Kintyre House, E14 Kintyre House is a block on Cold Harbour.
Lancaster Drive, E14 Lancaster Drive was designed by WCEC Architects for the Wates Group and was completed circa 1985.
Landon Walk, E14 Landon Walk is a dockside walkway.
Landons Close, E14 Landons Close is part of the Jamestown Harbour development of 73 low-density homes, situated between Poplar Dock and Blackwall Marina
Lewis House, E14 Lewis House can be found on Cold Harbour.
Longitude House, E14 Longitude House is a block on Prime Meridian Walk.
Lumina Building, E14 Lumina Building is a block on Prestons Road.
Maple House, E14 Maple House is a block on Blackwall Way.
Michigan Building, E14 Michigan Building is a block on Biscayne Avenue.
New Providence Wharf, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Newport Avenue, E14 Newport Avenue is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
North Dockside, E14 North Dockside is a road in the E14 postcode area
Ontario Tower, E14 Ontario Tower is a block on Fairmont Avenue.
Ordnance Crescent, SE10 Ordnance Crescent runs around the entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel.
Paul Julius Close, E14 Paul Julius Close is a road in the E14 postcode area
Pierhead Lock, E14 Pierhead Lock is a road in the E14 postcode area
Polaris Apartments, E14 Polaris Apartments is a block on Prestons Road.
Prestage Way, E14 Prestage Way is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Preston’s Road, E14 This is a street in the E14 postcode area
Prime Meridian Walk, E14 Prime Meridian Walk is a location in London.
Province Square, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Raleana Road, E14 Raleana Road is a road in the E14 postcode area
Saint Leonards Road, E14 Albert Court South is a building in Blackwall.
Scouler Street, E14 Scouler Street lies off of Quixley Street.
Sexton Court, E14 Sexton Court is a block on Blackwall Way.
St Lawrence Street, E14 St Lawrence Street connects Prestons Road with Blackwall Way.
St. Lawrence Street, E14 Albert Court North is a building in Blackwall.
Streamlight Tower, E14 Streamlight Tower is a building on Blackwall Way.
Studley Court, E14 Studley Court is a block on Jamestown Way.
Susan Constant Court, E14 Susan Constant Court can be found on Newport Avenue.
The Blue Bridge, E14 The Blue Bridge is a road in the E14 postcode area
The Old Pump House, E14 The Old Pump House is a block on Prestons Road.
Wingfield Court, E14 Wingfield Court is sited on Newport Avenue.
Wotton Court, E14 Wotton Court can be found on Jamestown Way.
Yabsley Street, E14 Yabsley Street was a rebuilt Russell Street which had existed before the Blackwall Tunnell was built.

Click here to explore another London street
We now have 632 completed street histories and 46868 partial histories

River Thames

London’s river

Click here to see map view of nearby Creative Commons images
Click here to see Creative Commons images near to this postcode

In the neighbourhood...

Click an image below for a better view...
Map of the Greenwich Peninsula and part of the Isle of Dogs (c.1872) Bugsby’s Marsh - the site of the O2 - was a particularly grim location being land to the south of Blackwall Point where executed criminals were hung in chains. Rather interestingly, the routes of roads of the Isle of Dogs are shown laid out but overlayed onto the watercourses they replaced.
Credit: 1872 map

West India Docks
Old London postcard

Handmade cababochon using a map of the London Underground
Credit: Jane Perrone
Licence: CC BY 2.0

Blackwall station and its pier in the early 20th century. East India Dock Wall Road led to it.

Pirates were publicly hanged at Execution Dock in Wapping. The bodies of the pirates amongst them were placed in a cage and brought further downstream to Blackwall Point, the northernmost tip of the Greenwich Peninsula. They would then be left in the cages and left to rot - a warning to ships passing through into London.

A view of the West India Docks when they were newly built in 1802.
Licence: CC BY 2.0

A Suffragette Advertising Cart (1909) Such advertising carts were regularly hired by the Women’s Social and Political Union to publicise the campaign and announce meetings.
Credit: Museum of London

Photographer Luke Agbaimoni gave up city-scape night photography after the birth of his first child, but creating the Tube Mapper project allowed him to continue being creative, fitting photography around his new lifestyle and adding stations on his daily commute.
Licence: CC BY 2.0

Old Covent Garden
Credit: Clive Boursnell
Licence: CC BY 2.0

The Brunswick Hotel at Blackwall in March 1929.
Credit: A.G. Linney (Museum of London)

Print-friendly version of this page

  Contact us · Copyright policy · Privacy policy