by our RBG Correspondent
A new visitor information plaque that charts the history of the foot tunnel at Greenwich has been unveiled today by representatives of a local appreciation society and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
The new plaque reveals the fascinating history of the river crossing, from its days as a ferry transporting horses and carts in the 1600s and famous writer Samuel Pepys during the Great Plague, to transport for the masses of dock workers in the 1800s to its construction in the late 1800s and opening in 1902.
Unveiling the plaque, Councillor Danny Thorpe, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability was joined by members of the Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels (FOGWOFT), who asked the council to mark the special historical importance of the great structure.
Councillor Thorpe said: “This magnificent tunnel has served this part of London for over 100 years, and there has been a crossing here in some form or another for over 400 years. It has stood the test of time, including a bomb strike during the Second World War – a testament to the craftsmen who worked on its construction all those years ago. And I have to honour the chief engineer of this great structure, Sir Alexander Binnie, whose great grandson Chris Binnie is honorary president of the Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels, who champion the voice of our tunnel users.”
Ian Blore, Secretary of FOGWOFT, said: “The plaque will do a great job in explaining the history and reasons for the historic foot tunnel. It is the latest in a series of projects by the Royal Borough to enhance user's experience of the tunnel. The Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels (FOGWOFT)) have been closely consulted about all three projects. Since the completion of the major refurbishment scheme in 2014, it would have been easy for the borough to lose sight of the importance of this working heritage - it is to their credit that they have not, and FOGWOFT will continue to support innovative actions that improve both tunnels.”