Thursday, 25 February 2016

Williamson's Tunnels

As we were in Liverpool last Thursday, we took the opportunity to visit Williamson's Tunnels.  Only a fairly small, but representative, section has been opened up by hard-working volunteers for guided tours, but it's well worth visiting.  Undocumented, the reason for their construction is still unknown - probably to provide work for soldiers returned from the Napoleonic Wars? - and there was no map drawn at the time to show their locations.  Joseph Williamson was a wealthy and eccentric character, who went hunting on his wedding day and spent much of his time planning his tunnel empire.  They are mentioned in Secret Tunnels of England as an example of underground structures that were forgotten in the ensuing years, or not even known about while they were being constructed.  It seems that the latest research has revealed that many of the tunnels were arched-over former quarries, rather than being burrowed out through the sandstone beds.  The website for the Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre is here.  A useful pamphlet published by the Joseph Williamson Society is The Life of Joseph Williamson by David Bridson.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Mail Rail and other underground matters

Welcome news that after years of 'mothballing' Mail Rail is to be used as part of the new Postal Museum planned to open next year, although it might have been better employed helping in some way to reduce the traffic on central London's congested roads, as it once did.   Some urban explorer material on it here courtesy of Bradley Garrett.

An incredible house for sale in Bridgnorth with its own cave - I'd love to live there.

A new edition of the classic work The Lost Rivers of London by Nicholas Barton (now assisted by Stephen Myers) will be published this month.  Artist Adam Dant explored the lost river Walbrook here.

A recent mention for me and my subterranean-themed books on the excellent BLDGBLOG, which covers the built environment in all its scientific, cultural, social and fantastic ramifications.   Also linked opposite.  The blog's creator Geoff Manaugh is also author of the stimulating BLDGBLOG Book.

Gary Lachman will be delivering a talk based on his essay for my Secret Tunnels of England book at an event in April; I will also be speaking, along with Fortean and folklore expert Scott Wood (who also contributed to my Folklore of London book).  Details here.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Talks and concerts

The talk for the London Fortean Society on Wednesday 9th March at Conway Hall is sold out, but another more ambitious event has been arranged for early April at the same venue.  More details very soon.

Meanwhile on the concert front:

Wire at Lewes Con Club 10th March.

Caravan at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham 15th March.

Field Music at Islington Assembly Hall 18th March

Three Trapped Tigers The Haunt, Brighton 3rd May

Lush The Roundhouse 7th May

Beach House 13th June De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill

Television 14th June, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill