From the Vermont Telegraph, October 12, 1836
The Thames Tunnel – Dr. Humphrey in one of his letters from England, gives the following interesting description of the Thames Tunnel.
This great work was commenced several years ago, about a mile below London Bridge. It is agreed on all hands. I believe, that if the tunnel could be finished, and secured against the irruptions of the superincumbent waters, it would be a public accommodation, as the navigation of the Thames will not permit the erection of any bridge in that part of the city; and the river is so constantly filled and almost choked up, with all kinds of water craft, that to keep any thing like a convenient ferry open is quite impossible. The undertaking has proved much more costly than was anticipated, and for a very considerable time it was entirely suspended for want of funds.But at the last session of Parliament a large grant was made for the prosecution of it. when I was there. in the mouth of May, the arches again resounded with the heavy blows and busy hum of the workmen. A shaft is sunk to the depth of fifty or sixty feet, on the south bank of the river, over which a temporary building has been erected, and you descend into the tunnel by winding staircase. Before it can be opened. it must of course be carried out a great deal further from the river, to get a convenient slope for heavy transportation.
At the bottom of the stairs, the horizontal excavation, under the bed of the river commences. It is ten or twelve feet in height, and wide enough for two Carriage ways. with a row of strong pillars, and arches extending from pillar to pillar, between them. The sides and transverse arches, as you stand at the entrance, and by the help of lamps look down these subterraneous galleries, are built of the most substantial masonry, and have every appearance of being perfectly secure, as far as they are finished, which is about 600 feet, nearly or quite to the middle of the river. Some even now doubt whether the tunnel will ever be finished ; but I see no insuperable difficulty by the way. As I have elsewhere remarked, (I believe.) our English kinsfolk are commonly much less in a hurry than we are ; but they possess the virtue of perseverance in an eminent degree; and I have little doubt that some half dozen years hence they will be passing under the bed of their largest river with is much composure and safety as they now pass over London Bridge. – Whenever that day arrives. the tunnel will be an immense thoroughfare for the lower part of the metropolis.
Source: Vermont telegraph. [volume] (Brandon [Vt.]), 12 Oct. 1836. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025661/1836-10-12/ed-1/seq-4/>