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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
23rd July 1989 Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe was born in West London.
23rd July 1986 The Prince Andrew, Duke of York, second son of Queen Elizabeth II , was married to Sarah Ferguson in Westminster Abbey.
23rd July 1975 Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends, premieres in London
23rd July 1966 England beat Argentina 1-0 at Wembley Stadium to reach the World Cup Semi-Finals.
23rd July 1947 Born today: David Essex, London, rock vocalist/actor (That'll be the Day)
23rd July 1946 Born today: Andy MacKay, London, rock sax/oboe (Roxy Music-Dance Away)
23rd July 1940 Blitz all-night air raid by German bombers on London begins
23rd July 1900 Pan-African Congress meets in London
23rd July 1863 Alexandra Park opens in North London
An Engineering breakthrough by Marc Brunel since 1824
Location: Nr Wapping Rose Garden
Description: This is the North Bank entrance to Brunel's famous Thames Tunnel, built between 1824 and 1843.
It was the first tunnel built under a major river since Roman times. After two previous attempts had failed, Marc Brunel undertook the project using his invention of a tunnelling shield which allowed the workers to bore manually into the subsoil and line the walls of the resulting tunnel shaft as the work progressed. This method is still used today, except that manual labour is replaced by machines.
It was dangerous work, and 10 people died in the construction of the tunnel. Marc Brunel himself was injured and his son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, nearly drowned when the partially completed tunnel was flooded.
It was opened in 1843 by Queen Victoria to great acclaim but the money had run out before the planned ramps, which would have allowed horse-drawn carriages to use the tunnel, were built.
It was used as a foot tunnel until in 1869 the East London Line took it over to transport passengers by rail under the river between Rotherhithe and Wapping.
If you have an appropriate Zone 2 ticket you can descend the original shaft on to the platform of what is today Wapping East London Line Station. Here you can see fascinating historical pictures of the tunnel starting from its original use as a foot tunnel.
Tagged in this Tour: Pirates and penthouses at the old London Docks