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Thread: Tunnels Under Liverpool

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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    There are tunnels between the Post Office at Copperas Hill and Line St Station.

    At the US Burtonwood Airbase, there were large underground caverns - presumably for bomb storage. They were sealed and the buildings above demolished.
    Fred Dibnah had the pleasure of taking out the tower!

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    When I was first born(35 years ago) up until the age of three I used to live in an old priory in Watergate Lane in Woolton it was called St. Bennets Priory. My Mum and Dad told me of the subterranean passage that began in the cellar of the house. They found the entrance (which was partially blocked) while checking the electric meter. As I was too young to remember very much at all about the Priory I did a bit of research and found the following.....

    St. Bennet's Priory.

    After the Reformation, the Catholic families of Great Britain practiced their Faith in secret. Those Manorial buildings, which remained to Catholic owners, were furnished with secret rooms, passages, and exits for the safety of priests, who crept there, in disguise, to attend to the spiritual needs of the family and all the inhabitants of the Manor.

    For many generations the Norris family at Speke Hall played a great part in preserving the Roman Catholic Faith in South West Lancashire. Speke Hall, which is about two miles from Woolton, contains hiding places for priests. Entrances and exits were often affected by means of subterranean passages leading from the Hall to the banks of the Mersey. In 1586, we read that a certain priest named Richard Brittain "remayneth now at the house of Mr. Norris of the Speke." This Mr. Norris later became Sir William Norris, and his descendants remained true to the old Faith.


    Here's a link to the full article...

    RootsWeb: ENG-LANCS-WOOLTON-MUCH-L [ENG-LANCS-WOOLTON-MUCH] Woolton History 19

    Moreover, when the priory was knocked down to build houses the builders, working on the Watergate Lane site, unearthed the remains of a tunnel.

    It was a really spooky place to live, I remember clearly the tomb stone in the garden and the graves. They have now been removed and put in St Mary's Church in Woolton. My Mum told me of the time she was hanging out the washing one day only to slip and twist her ankle on one of the graves that was badly damaged and falling in. She said the place was haunted!

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    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    I'd love to live in a place like that. How did your parents come to live in such a place?
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    Senior Member Davec's Avatar
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    I don't know if this has been posted somewhere else, but if not it's well worth a read. Williamson' tunnels are mentioned in Chapter X.


    Recollections of Old Liverpool by A Nonagenarian - Project Gutenberg

    Love the way he writes.

    Dave.

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    Thanks Davec, it has been posted before but is well worth a reminder.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    I'd love to live in a place like that. How did your parents come to live in such a place?
    They had just got married and it was their first house together (one that they could afford) They were renting it at the time quite cheaply apparently -probably because nobody else wanted a graveyard in their garden! I have memories of my Mum lifting me up onto the tomb/vault to tie my shoe laces

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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnMe08 View Post
    When I was first born(35 years ago) up until the age of three I used to live in an old priory in Watergate Lane in Woolton it was called St. !
    A fantastic story and welcome to Yo.

    It reminds me of the Vicarage at Childwall, in the games room was a cupboard that you could crawl in to and virtually navigate all around the house between the inner and outer walls!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
    A fantastic story and welcome to Yo.

    It reminds me of the Vicarage at Childwall, in the games room was a cupboard that you could crawl in to and virtually navigate all around the house between the inner and outer walls!
    That sounds like fun! I would of loved something like that

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    sounds an interesting place AnMe08

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    Default Watergate Lane tunnel

    Hi,

    I have just stumbled across this site as I was searching for info on the old priory at watergate lane in woolton (there is very little info on the web about it).

    I live on Watergate Lane and my daughters go to Much Woolton Catholic primary (this was built on the site of the old priory). My daughter told me that there is supposedly a grave under one of the buildings on the school grounds and as an old St Julies pupil (top of watergate lane), I remember girls talking about the old graveyard that was once there.

    I only started St Julies once Much Woolton primary had already been built and would love to know if anyone has any more info on the priory, or an old well that was supposed to be near to the priory but most importantly, the tunnel that apparently goes under my street from Woolton Hall to the old priory.

    Cheers,

    Cat

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    Senior Member fortinian's Avatar
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    You sure about the priory?

    If anyone knows I bet Cad would. He does a lot of Woolton stuff. PM him and see.

    EDIT: If you've done a websearch you probably have seen this click here.
    Last edited by fortinian; 09-10-2008 at 01:39 PM.

  12. #102
    Senior Member danensis's Avatar
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    As this is a thread about tunnels, what are all the openings in the walls of the edge hill cutting? You can see them from the train, but they're too high up to be anything to do with the railway.

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    I tried to photograph some as I traveled away from Lime Street the other month. Unsuccessful, it made me dizzy.

    Some of them are old Williamson's tunnels I think.
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    The Williamson Tunnels do not actually open onto the railway but they are there if you look. You will see that the walls change from natural sandstone to shaped sandstone blocks - this is where the so-called 'Triple Decker' Tunnel originally ran and was cut through my Stevensons LMR tunnel in the 1830s. I have even seen the plans that were drawn by the engineers of the LMR tunnel that show Mr Williamsons tunnel cutting into the railway.

    Part of the triple decker still survives underneath the Williamson Tunnels Centre on Smithdown lane and is still accessable today! (Pics Beneath used with permission)




    The 'hole' in the railway wall that you mention is probably the original chamber that housed 'Ramsbottoms Chimney' which was a huge venilator fan to allow the smoke and steam from locomotives to escape.

    You might not be aware that the railway was originally a tunnel and only opened out into a cutting in the 1880s, so a good vent system would be in place. Ramsbottom was the chief engineer or designer I think. The yard where the chimney stood is still on Smithdown Lane (I think it's just used as storage now). There have been, however suggestions that Ramsbottom used a pre-existant Williamson Tunnel to house his fan, although I have yet to see proof.

    EDIT: If anyone has an old skyline of Liverpool from pre-1970s you may be able to see the chimney as it was absolutely massive and would have easily shown up.
    Last edited by fortinian; 09-10-2008 at 09:33 PM.

  15. #105
    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Spot on Fortinian.

    Williamson and Stephenson met several times over their 'time'. The triple Decker Tunnel used to run from Grinfield Street all the way to the back of Williamson's House but when the railway came along, it was cut in half. Williamson wanted to keep a link so built a tunnel under the cutting as we know it now - I'll get some pictures posted up of the exact part that the tunnels were bricked up. The only other part as you say is Ramsbottoms Chimney. Demolished in the 1960's, it took a tunnel that Williamson built as part of the ventilation process before the cutting was a cutting and it was an enclosed tunnel.

    I'll load up some pics tonight or tomorrow as I've got a load of the Chimney

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    Yo Newbie Knottedash's Avatar
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    Default Linwood house

    I had a mooch today around the garden but no sign of anything as its a forest of nettles and brambles - im currently covered in nettle stings and my legs look like I wear barbed wire pantaloons. re. the smugglers tunnel, I got to thinking on my way home that the tunnel is more likley (if there is one) to be a passage to the church which is spitting distance from the house. These are not uncommon in old dwellings around the reformation and later I have heard of well to do families not wanting to walk with the hoy polloy would dig themselves a route from a basement to the crypt. To cut a tunnel to garston isnt impossible (mother redcaps baltic fleet etc) but it is one hell of an undertaking.

    Any thoughts or info would be appreciated.

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    Senior Member fortinian's Avatar
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    Here are some shots of Ramsbottoms Chimney. The first is a photo of a photo... of a photo so quality is a bit dim. The second is from Jim Moores 'Underground Liverpool' which is a brilliant book that I thoroughly recommend.


    This is Blanche Street - no longer there, but the road at the top of the picture is Smithdown Lane.



    There are plenty more of these in the LRO.

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    Senior Member marky's Avatar
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    A Flickr.com member has a picture of the Smithdown Lane chimney from 1970.
    Liverpool 1970 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fortinian View Post
    The 'hole' in the railway wall that you mention is probably the original chamber that housed 'Ramsbottoms Chimney' which was a huge venilator fan to allow the smoke and steam from locomotives to escape.

    You might not be aware that the railway was originally a tunnel and only opened out into a cutting in the 1880s, so a good vent system would be in place.
    The Ramsbottom vent shaft was not a success. It had a steam powered fan. With some accidents and two much smoke in the Lime St tunnel, parts were made into a wide cutting.

    Much of these cuttings can be filled in today to have buildings on them once again. The walls around the cuttings are boring and lifeless from street level.

    From Science and society site. Extending the width of the Lime Street tunnel/cuttings:


    You can see the tunnel and where parts were cut away to make open air cuttings. Parts of the tunnel were left in place where roads crossed the tunnel/cutting, creating deep natural rock bridges.





    Below is the existing tunnel, and all around where they have widened and made the large cutting quadrupling the tracks. The brick lining of the existing old tunnel can be seen, as they dismantle it opening it up into the surrounding big cutting. It was quite clever what they did.


    Mike Turner posted these links a while back:
    http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/roa...tml#post120630
    Last edited by Waterways; 10-11-2008 at 12:46 PM.
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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marky View Post
    A Flickr.com member has a picture of the Smithdown Lane chimney from 1970.
    Liverpool 1970 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    It is no good on a link. Here it is:


    A later picture when the vent tower was demolished. Behind the school before Sydney Gardens the round vent shaft tower for the Waterloo tunnel can be seen.
    Last edited by Waterways; 10-11-2008 at 02:20 PM.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
    Rapid-transit rail: Everton, Liverpool & Arena - CLICK

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    Quote Originally Posted by christy View Post
    Have heard rumours for years about a tunnel that goes from the Olympia pub on West Derby road to the basement of the Olympia theatre. Heard this from numerous people in the area including a lad whose mate lived in the pub for years and someone who worked on the door of the theatre when it was the Locarno ballroom. Also stories of a lift that goes from the basement of the theatre up into the centre of the floor that was used to bring the animals up when it was a circus (Cages in the walls in the basement aswell) Dont know how much is true but it is very interesting and I love the theatre by the great theatre architect Frank Matcham

    Hi Christy. I spent some time in the basement at the olympia many years ago
    There was a lift that brought up the animals but it did not work and the floor above it had been covered. As you probably know it was at one time a circus.
    However i found no secret passage,s and there where no cages,but there is a huge elephant pit where they kept the elephants. I was also a regular at the Olympia pub throughout the 60s and i never heared anything about the passage.

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    There's a tunnel which connects the County Sessions House and Museum in William Brown Street. I've no idea how long it's been there or why it's between these two buildings. Part of the tunnel contains cells, which are now used for storage.

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    St. James' Cem





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  24. #114
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    Default Everton tunnel

    Came across this having heard of it before. Anyone know if it ever happened or if so where it is and if not why not?

    Liverpool Record Office: Online Catalogue')


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    Senior Member fortinian's Avatar
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    The link you posted does not work... from what I am guessing I can think of two things;

    a) the 'brewery tunnel' belonging to a Brew House in Everton which had a tunnel for the barrels of beer to roll down a slope from the Brewery to the yard for transportation.

    b) the proposed link to the city centre that would have come out at Everton. (I'm remembering this as I haven't got any books at hand) I think it was meant to come out somewhere near the top of Sleepers Hill

    . It was meant to link up with the A580 (East Lancs Road) and be a direct access from Manchester to the Liverpool Docks and Mersey Tunnels, going under the city and down towards the Mersey.

    As the project was proposed during the 1920s-1930's I believe that World War II got in the way, costs escallated and the plans were shelved.

    As I said, I am remembering this so my facts might not be accurate.

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    with regards to the tunnell at reynolds park, this tunnell does exsist and is accessible, if your not afraid of climbin a wall then going down the quarry bank.

    ill try and get to it at the weekend and get some pictures for you.

    Id love to find the rest of the tunnells, Any chance of getting a list of confirmed tunnells?

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    Local Historian Cadfael's Avatar
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    Aye, the tunnel at Reynolds Park is cut in the sandstone bedrock and goes up in like a spiral staircase fashion. I need to go again - this time with a camera!

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    Very interesting subject
    In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

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    Default Everton Tunnels

    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Came across this having heard of it before. Anyone know if it ever happened or if so where it is and if not why not?

    Liverpool Record Office: Online Catalogue')


    .
    Reference Everton tunnels, my mother worked in a Sayers Confectioners shop in Brunswick Road, which is near to Low Hill, during the thirties and forties. to get to the toilet facilities, you had to go to the basement of the shop, and access a tunnel that went under the road. There were rooms in this passageway, which contained various junk. Emerging the tunnel on the other side of the road, there was the toilet, and another passageway that led off into the darkeness. It was never explored by her. I have heard of tunnels being in the Everton area, before allegedly from the Civil War period, and have often wondered if the one under Brusnwick Road was one of them. However, I heard Frank Carlyle on Radio Merseyside one day saying that a lot of what we presume to be tunnels were in fact "Cold Rooms" constructed at the same time as the property above, to keep produce fresh, and did not necessarily lead anywhere. With the tunnels in Burnswick Road being under shops I wonder if this was the case.

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    Default Olympia Theatre Basement

    Quote Originally Posted by christy View Post
    Have heard rumours for years about a tunnel that goes from the Olympia pub on West Derby road to the basement of the Olympia theatre. Heard this from numerous people in the area including a lad whose mate lived in the pub for years and someone who worked on the door of the theatre when it was the Locarno ballroom. Also stories of a lift that goes from the basement of the theatre up into the centre of the floor that was used to bring the animals up when it was a circus (Cages in the walls in the basement aswell) Dont know how much is true but it is very interesting and I love the theatre by the great theatre architect Frank Matcham
    Funny story in connection with Locarno. When in the police in the early 80's, the Locarno Burglar Alarm went off, and we all attended to check it out. Two colleagues went into the basement area, one of them went in front and shone his torch. He saw a step down onto what he thought was the floor of the cellar. He stepped down and immediately fell into large pool of water that was the elephant pit.
    Nobody had been down ther for years and a film of dust had formed on the surface of the water, making it look solid. Apparently through lack of use, a water leak, and a misplaced delivery of diesel fuel in the '50s all contributed to the pit becoming full. Hence him falling in. If you have ever seen a cartoon of someone trying to get out of water in double quick time, you can imagine the scene. He consequently had to get his stomach pumped, and a complete new uniform. There were no burglars, just a fault in the system.

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