Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,385 pages of information and 233,518 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Thames Archway Co

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1805 The Thames Archway Company was formed with the intention of constructing a tunnel - known as the Thames Drift Tunnel - to run beneath the River Thames.

1805 Robert Vazie, a Cornish engineer, was selected by the Thames Archway Co to drive a tunnel under the River Thames at Rotherhithe. Vazie encountered serious problems with water influx and got no further than sinking the end shafts when the directors called in Trevithick for consultation. The directors agreed to pay Trevithick £1,000 if he could successfully complete the tunnel, a length of 1,220feet.

1807 Richard Trevithick, appointed to supervise the initial stages, started digging a pilot tunnel or driftaway. The traditional method of shoring up the tunnel sides and roof with timber proved unsuccessful in these difficult conditions and after a series of floods, the pilot was abandoned just 200ft short of its target.

1808 April. William Stobart and John Buddle appointed as inspectors to the Thames Archway Co project

1808 November. The opinions of General William Twiss, Lieut-Colonel William Mudge, Lieut-Colonel Henry Shrapnell and Sir Thomas Hyde Page were sought.

1809 The Thames Archway Company was dissolved

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Brunel 200 Web Site
  • Richard Trevithick by H. W. Dickinson and Arthur Titley. Published 1934