Woolwich foot tunnel
The Woolwich foot tunnel crosses under the River Thames in East London from Woolwich in the Royal Borough of Greenwich to North Woolwich in the London Borough of Newham. The tunnel offers pedestrians an alternative way to cross the river when the Woolwich Free Ferry service is not operating. Both entrances to the tunnel are Grade II listed buildings. The south entrance is now somewhat hidden behind the Waterfront leisure centre.
The tunnel was designed by Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice and built by Walter Scott & Middleton for London County Council and opened by Lord Cheylesmore, Chairman of the LCC, on Saturday, 26 October 1912. In many respects it is very similar to the nearby Greenwich foot tunnel, being accessed by lifts and stairs from buildings featuring glass domes. This tunnel too is glazed with white tiles (although many have been defaced).
Its creation owed much to the efforts of working-class politician Will Crooks who had worked in the docks and, after chairing the LCC's Bridges Committee responsible for the tunnel, would later serve as Labour MP for Woolwich.
Greenwich Council started work to upgrade both this tunnel and the Greenwich foot tunnel on 19 April 2010. The works were to reduce leakage, improve drainage and to install new lifts, CCTV, communication facilities and signage, with an original completion date of March 2011. During the works, the tunnel closed on Monday to Friday daytimes, when the Woolwich Free Ferry was available as an alternative crossing.
On 24 September 2010, Greenwich Council closed the Woolwich foot tunnel to all users, due to structural weaknesses discovered in the stairways and tunnel itself. The tunnel was originally expected to re-open in August 2011, but this target was missed and a new expected re-opening date was not provided by Greenwich Council.
The tunnel eventually reopened to the public in December 2011, though initially access to the tunnel was only by the stairs until final works on the lifts are completed. The lift service is currently disabled.
The ‘Friends of Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels’ (FOGWOFT) was established in September 2013.
- "Listed Buildings Online: Entrance To Woolwich Pedestrian Tunnel". English Heritage. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
- "Listed Buildings Online: South Entrance Rotunda Woolwich Foot Tunnel". English Heritage. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
- Engineering timelines
- Opening of Woolwich footway tunnel London County Council Published in 1912
- Greenwich Council Foot Tunnel Refurbishment Retrieved 2010-07-10
- "Greenwich Council - Travel & transport - Foot tunnels". www.greenwich.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- News Shopper: "Woolwich foot tunnel reopens", published 21 Dec 2011
- Urban Pedestrian tunnels under rivers
- Greenwich Council foot tunnels page
- PortCities Info
- Friends of Greenwich & Woolwich Foot Tunnels
- Press report of 1912
- North entrance: Coordinates: ; south entrance: