A tour of Underground Greenwich

Thanks to a tip-off from The Greenwich Phantom, I spent a couple of hours on a pleasant wander round Greenwich learning a bit about the underground history of the area.

It was a bitterly cold day and I almost didn’t go to be honest, but it was the tours first day – and as it was a bit of a “test”, there was also no charge for the services of our guide. He isn’t a history expert on the history of the area, being more an enthusiastic amateur (a bit like me!) – which actually works better as you don’t get drowned in technical facts and figures.

Basically, we had a slow rambling wander round the town centre, then heading up towards Blackheath and then back down towards the centre again – stopping at various points to explain the historic relevance, and also quite interesting how the geology of the area affects the history. For example, the geology affects where water reservoirs were placed or the location of the infamous chalk pits on Blackheath.

I did take some notes as we wandered round – but it was perishingly cold – so I didn’t write down too much – nor take lots of photos. I preferred to walk around with my hands in my pockets!

I will go back in a few weeks and take some photos of some of the bits which really interested me and do a bit of a write up about them.

However, there was one spot where I did take photos, and for various reasons I won’t say where it is (although research will reveal that if you want) – but there was once a second railway leading into the very centre of Greenwich – which ironically I had started researching myself only a few weeks ago as later this year will be its 100th anniversary (expect a write up on the date) and part of the old railway arch still exists under a road and some housing.

There is an entrance via an unmarked door which leads down to the archway – and after noticing that the padlock on the door was attached to just the door and not the latch, hence impotent in function we all went down the stairs to have a look. Not expecting this, none of us had brought a torch, so the only illumination was from mobile phone screens and camera flashes.

We finished off the tour by the site of an old sand pit on a side street with some rather nice houses now lining the area.

Overall a very informative couple of hours and when the weather warms up a bit this will be a very nice way of spending an afternoon wandering round the town on a weekend visit.

If you are interesting in finding out the dates for next tours and more info – send an email to anthony@signware.co.uk

You can see my photos of the underground railway arch on my usual Flickr account.

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Posted in History, subterranean stuff

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