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Andy Parsons

Get on down! The Thames tunnel has reopened to the public with a swanky new staircase

Alexi Duggins

We're not usually the sort of publication that uses the words ‘excited’, ‘massive’ and ‘shaft’ in the same sentence. But this week we are very excited about a massive shaft: specifically the massive Grade II-listed entrance shaft to Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Thames Tunnel in Rotherhithe. Opened in 1843, it was the first ever tunnel under a major river, and home to the world’s first subterranean circus, pop-up restaurant and fairground. For the last 150 years it’s been closed to the public (except for rare special events) but this week the Brunel Museum has reopened it, complete with a cool new staircase from architects Tate Harmer. Over the next few months it will host an opera, a restaurant (from the brains behind Broadway Market’s Poco tapas bar), acoustic gigs and theatre productions, all popping-up after popping down to this vast space literally dripping with history. Tunnels: officially not boring. 

See more pictures from the subterranean:

Images: Andy Parsons

Want more news from underground? This is how you can go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Mail Rail before anyone else

And here are 25 things you (probably) didn't know about the London Underground


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