Thursday, March 24, 2011

Postcard from the tunnel

Greenwich is famous for many reasons. Its wealth of viewpoints which showcase the beauty of London is one of them. That's not what you're seeing here. Another thing Greenwich and the rest of south east London have historically been known for is lack of bridges and poor transport links, for being the land where cabbies fear to tread because of the dearth of return fares to the West End.

Even now the DLR has arrived, the Greenwich Foot Tunnel which burrows under the Thames to link south London to the Isle of Dogs is a lifeline for commuters and provides aural delights to groups of foreign students testing out the echoes. I was lucky to catch it so deserted for my photo. Equally lucky not to be mown down by a cyclist 'not riding' their bike through it.

While central London's bridges and the planned cable car crossing to east London may deliver scenic vistas of the iconic skyline, they don't have the frisson of danger the foot tunnel delivers. You're under water down there! The work in progress to prop up the roof just confirms the potential for it to come crumbling down around your ears. Sadly the lifts are currently under refurbishment, but no flashy cable car or convenient electric train can compete with the delight of being escorted 50 feet underground by a lift attendant accompanied by fading reception from his transistor radio before you promenade under the river.

OK, so it doesn't make for an attractive postcard. Here's the view towards Docklands from Point Hill in Greenwich to make up for it.


Guy Saville said...


So is this the photo I wasn't allowed to see the other day?

I've actually been in the tunnel several times and find it incredibly creepy (maybe because it always makes me think of the tunnel scene in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON... even though there's no direct connection).

Hope you weren't creeped out when taking the photo!

G x

Timberati said...

Funnily enough any "frisson of danger" tingling in me would not be from the river overhead but any toughs lurking about inside. Spooky.

Timberati said...

I'm sure that's just me. You're made of tougher stuff, K.

postcardsfromk said...

I've never found the tunnel particularly creepy or spooky, but then I've always been aware of other people coming and going. Don't think I'd head down there late at night, and that's without having seen the scary film first. I may be tough but I'm not stupid!