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Thread: Williamson Tunnels

  1. #1
    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Exclamation Joseph Williamson's Lost Grave uncovered!

    ARCHAEOLOGISTS yesterday uncovered the lost grave of philanthropist Joseph Williamson for just a few hours, before burying the tomb once more.

    Local historians from the Friends of the Williamson Tunnels have been searching for the exact location of the grave for the past 10 years and said the find came at the 11th hour.

    It was the third time archaeologists had searched for the grave of the "Mole of Edge Hill" who created a labyrinth of tunnels under Liverpool in the 1800s.

    And it was the final attempt to excavate the site, in a car park opposite police headquarters at Canning Place, which is part of the new Paradise Street development.

    Members of the Friends of Williamson Tunnels said they were losing hope that the grave would be found on time.

    Trustee Bill Douglas said: "The dig was due to finish at 5pm so this was the last chance to find it.

    "We broke through just after midday. When the archaeologist saw the name, we all cheered."

    Although the group knew Williamson was buried in the former churchyard of St Thomas's church - which was demolished and turned into a car park - the precise location was unclear.

    Williamson campaigner Gabriel Muies said the area will be turned into a garden with a commemorative plaque thanks to Paradise Street developer Grosvenor.

    He added: "I am absolutely over the moon. Williamson was a great benefactor for the unemployed in Liverpool.

    "Grosvenor have agreed, at great expense, to turn it into a garden and have saved it."

    The grave itself was due to be reburied by 5pm yesterday, according to archaeologist Jamie Quartermaine, from Oxford Archaeology North. He said finding the grave was an important link in the city's history.

    "From a social history point of view, Williamson is of incredible importance and to find his grave is something most Liverpudlians can identify with.

    "He's one of the city's eccentric personalities and we have been working on trying to find the grave for a number of weekends.

    "We were struggling to find it so today has been very satisfying.

    "The slab will not be visible after today - we are not grave robbers and we are not going to move it. It's an archeological recording."

    Another trustee of the Friends of the Williamson Tunnels, Steve Moran, said he would like the grave to be visible to the public, but said he was just pleased it had been found.

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    He said: "Everyone's elated. We have been looking for this for 10 years and it's a proud moment."

    The grave, which houses every member of the Tate family which Joseph Williamson married into, is surprisingly modest.

    There is no religious inscription on the 7ft by 3ft gravestone, amended when Williamson was buried in 1840 to simply read: "Also the Remains of Joseph Williamson of Edge Hill Who died the 1st May 1840 Aged 71 Years."

    Source: Here...
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  2. #2
    Otterspool Onomatopoeia Max's Avatar
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    So it's just a gravstone theyfound? No Coffin.

    Aren't they supposed to move the bodys when there changing a graveyard into something else?

    Where will they rebury it.

    Ain't been to those tunnels though.

    He was born in Warrington too.
    Last edited by Max; 10-24-2005 at 11:30 AM.
    Gididi Gididi Goo.

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    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Default Fears for historic Williamson Tunnels

    CAMPAIGNERS were staging a protest today outside a city property auction in a bid to block the £1m sale of the former lord mayor's stable yard.

    The derelict site, on Smithdown Lane, Edge Hill, is being sold with planning permission for a three-storey block of student flats.

    But it lies above one of the Williamson tunnels, the famous triple decker, and there are fears construction work could damage the historic under-ground attraction.

    Les Coe, of the Friends of Williamson Tunnels, said: "The land up for sale is a large cobbled section of the stable yard.

    "Underneath the land are some of the most spectacular tunnels. We're worried by the plans, as the construction of flats would almost certainly damage the tunnels beneath."

    The planning permission was granted in 2001 despite objections from conservationists.

    The Williamson tunnels have been described by heritage experts as one of the " wonders of Liverpool". more

    Who's been? What was it like?

    http://www.williamsontunnels.com/
    Last edited by Kev; 02-23-2006 at 05:20 PM.
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    Senior Member julia's Avatar
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    I went into the tunnels a few years ago. I believe it was the very year they first opened to the public. Was fab, definitely an E-ticket.

    Word of advice: If you do take the tour and the guide mentions discovering spiders in the tunnels, please roll your eyes at him for me. Ta

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    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Williamson Tunnels

    Report:



    I entered the Williamson Tunnels public bit which contained the famous double tunnels, bar/ snack area and was met by Ian who has been working on the tunnels for many years and began speaking passionately about them including the planning permission they had just applied for to begin excavasion of The Paddington Tunnels, a mile of more tunnels under the Bears Pub area (Click here for map). Ian gave me his actual sausage roll as they had none left, a nice gesture and very kind of him.



    I've highlited the approximate area in red to show you the limited area that was open to us, plus the other tunnel locations that are known and have been identified and explored by members of the Williamson Tunnels.



    Various artifacts have been found and are on display in the entrance area plus around the tunnel route.



    After we all paid, plus a little bit extra to help the Tunnels organisation stay afloat, we were given hard hats and met our guide. He assembled us in front of these large 'stable' type doors and began his talk, in which he spoke with passion and enthusiasm about The Mole of Edge Hill, where he was born plus more background history of the great man himself.



    The doors were opened and we were greeted by an excavated area of the tunnels. The area on the right used to be a floor laid by the Williamson Tunnel people until they discovered that there were more tunnels underneath, so the floor came up! It was truely amazing to listen to the history of the area and how the tunnels were used and abused over the years, they were filled in at one stage by ash from the houses above.



    Everywhere we turned there were tunnels 'here, there and everywhere'.


    The Kebab

    Various bore holes were made over the years by workman above at ground level, these were drilled and filled with concrete and nothing to do with Joseph Williamson and his men. The stayed and this one was affectionately called The Kebab .



    We had completed a full circuit of the section opened to the public which took 40 minutes. The end brought us back to the 'double tunnel' just above the bar area. Our guide explained that any artifact that was found undamaged was taken to the museum, on display here were many broken examples of pottery etc.

    We were taken back down the stairs and into the entrance area were the talk continued. He was recruiting volunteers to dig out more holes so if you fancy it give them a ring!

    This tour comes highly recommended. View the other pictures here. You may also be interested in the videos (dark but lots of information) here and here.

    Next, it was off to Coopers for a beer and to meet up with Doug Roberts and Woody.
    Last edited by Kev; 07-09-2006 at 12:01 PM.
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    Senior Member Paul D's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking time out to do that Kev it was a great day out all round and those tunnels are great.Here's a couple of my pictures taken on the tour.








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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Williamson was obnviously a cuckoo. He was a philanthopist for sure. But there are better ways to spend your money and keep people employed than pointless tunnels. He could have built larger better homes for the poor or a hospital or whatever. Things that would improve people's livies for years to come.

    The tunnels were assessed by the army in WW2 for military or air-raid use, but rejected as requiring too much work to get into service.

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    That was a good report on the tunnels.

  10. #10
    Ping Pong victorialush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways
    Williamson was obnviously a cuckoo. He was a philanthopist for sure. But there are better ways to spend your money and keep people employed than pointless tunnels. He could have built larger better homes for the poor or a hospital or whatever. Things that would improve people's livies for years to come.

    The tunnels were assessed by the army in WW2 for military or air-raid use, but rejected as requiring too much work to get into service.
    Wow, you take my breath away with your sheer negativity on this website!

    Them photos are great Kev, and thanks for the update!

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    Senior Member Brenda's Avatar
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    Brilliant pics Kev and Paul, and the report was really interesting, I find this type of thing about the tunnels fascinating and the ferry trip takes me back to when I was a kid going to New Brighton.....Ahhhh them were the days eh?.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victorialush
    Wow, you take my breath away with your sheer negativity on this website!
    Nice pics. Everyone is trying to make out these tunnels are something wonderful. They are not. They are as about as useful as the pyramids (tombs). Interesting yes. I may even visit myself.

    Williamson was a warped philanthropist. Building tunnels was just utterly pointless. That is not negative, it is just how it is.

    I saw on the web pics of men who walked, illegaly, the Wapping and Waterloo tunnels. Great. Rail tunnels that served the docks and did something very useful, and may be back in commission again.

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    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    A fantastic day was had by all involved.

    @Waterways - behave yourself mate Being underground and seeing the tunnels being lovingly uncovered by the hardwork of volunteers was impressive, the progress they had made, the tunnels that went knowhere, the triple decker tunnels just found. Facinating. The man also employed his men to begin building the collumns around the Albert Dock. If you look closely at the collumns, 2 of them in the corner are white, the rest red.

    Williamson's men built 2 out of stone and were not in a rush, the iron red ones were produced for speed.

    The man was a crank, no doubt.
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    Member Louis's Avatar
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    one of the stories of why he built the tunnels was that he thought the end of the world was near so the tunnels would provide a habitat for people to live underground or something along those lines

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev
    The man also employed his men to begin building the collumns around the Albert Dock. If you look closely at the collumns, 2 of them in the corner are white, the rest red.

    Williamson's men built 2 out of stone and were not in a rush, the iron red ones were produced for speed.

    The man was a crank, no doubt.
    3 stone pillars in fact. Are you saying the Albert Dock was supposed to have stone pillars all around, but they went to cast iron to speed up the job because Williamson's men were too slow?

    A large tobacco warehouse was were Albert Dock is now. Williamson was into tobacco and may have had something to do with the warehosue and hence Albert Dock.
    Last edited by Waterways; 07-10-2006 at 05:02 PM.

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