Thames Tunnel construction, 19th century

Thames Tunnel construction, 19th century

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Thames Tunnel construction, 19th century. Illustration of a side view of the techniques (including a tunnelling shield at bottom right) used to construct the Thames Tunnel, designed by Marc Isambard Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The tunnelling shield supported the side of the tunnel while allowing bricklayers to construct the lining. Materials were removed and added down a shaft (left), powered by a steam engine (upper left). Construction began in 1825, and the 406-metre long pedestrian tunnel opened in 1843. It passed under the River Thames, linking the London suburbs of Wapping and Rotherhithe. From 1865 the tunnel was used by trains.

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