Liverpool’s Lost Williamson Tunnels

Eccentric businessman Joseph Williamson conceived the idea to pay soldiers returning from the Napoleonic war to build a series of tunnels under the Liverpool streets in the early 19th century.

Today volunteers in Liverpool spend their weekends and free time to clearing out the mysterious labyrinth of tunnels that lurk beneath the city’s Edge Hill area.

The group of volunteers known as “The Friends of the Williamson Tunnels” are slowly removing the results of decades of Victorian “fly-tipping”, hoping one day to expose the full extent of the tunnels which they believe could stretch for miles. Unfortunately no records were kept of the original plans, how far they extend, or which direction they go.

After Williamson’s death in 1840, the tunnels were neglected, and fell into disrepair. The site currently being cleared was filled with over 100 years’ worth of ash and debris from a local bakery.

BBC News was given a tour by the excavation volunteers who explained why they are so intrigued by Williamson’s weird and wonderful world.


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