I have been meaning for absolutely ages to take a look at a little bit of London Underground heritage at Bank Station, and total thanks to problems with the Jubilee Line, I happened to be at Bank today and going past the tunnel in question when I finally remembered to take a look (and had my camera with me).
I use Bank station so often, and keep forgetting to take a look at this – and as much of the station may be closed for a year from next month – some urgency had arisen in my quest.
The bit of heritage is the remains of the Greathead steel shield which was used during the tunnelling of the original Waterloo & City Line in 1898 and like most tunnelling shields, it was abandoned in the soil once the tunnelling was over.
It was unexpectedly rediscovered some 90 years later during the extension of the DLR to Bank station – and it was left in place in a new tunnel linking the station with the W&C line. There is a small plaque beside it to explain its significance, although I would be surprised if anyone notices in the morning rush hours frankly.
This is how the shield would have looked when in use – yes the tunnelling was still done by hand, not by machine.
A couple of close up images: