Long term readers may recall that I am slowly researching the history of the Waterloo and Whitehall Railway – a short lived attempt to build a pneumatic railway in an iron tube running under the River Thames between Great Scotland Yard and Waterloo Station.
I haven’t been able to do much with the project frankly as I got somewhat diverted, but I haven’t completely forgotten it.
I was therefore quite excited to get an alert that a document had come onto the market, and one which is not in the National Archives – so I brought it and it arrived last week. The document is a short 4 side document which is the Authorisation by the Board of Trade to wind up the failed company in February 1871.
In addition to being a nice addition to my collection of relics from the railway – it also added a few extra notes which I was unsure of. Most notable was that while I knew that the construction of the iron tubes had started by the Samuda Brothers in Docklands, I was unable to get any further information – save a lithograph from an issue of Scientific American which confirmed that at least part of one tube was built.
I now know that one entire length (out of four) was indeed completed in full – with the brick linings etc., and a second length of tube was cast, but not assembled.
Due to the complete lack of any detailed information about the shipyard, I have been unable to find out what happened to the iron tubes once the firm was wound up – alas.
I still aim to do a write up one day – and the arrival of this document in the post has encouraged me to post off some letters (again) to various possible sources for information in the hope that a second letter might get answered.