Rotherhithe Tunnel

Yesterday & Today
How we lived then & How we live now
fosney
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:18 pm

Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby fosney » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:04 pm

Rotherhithe Tunnel

I feel sure that all us have sometime used this tunnel and feel it has played a part in our lives living in Bermondsey.
I can remember as a child walking the tunnel but of course the volume of traffic was not as great as today. What can you recall?
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bermondseyboy
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Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby bermondseyboy » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:14 pm

I remember buying an old Morris Miner (non-runner) so i had to be towed through the tunnel
and guess what? you got it.....the tow rope broke right in the middle of the tunnel.
Panic and embarrassment as we tried to re-connect it. :oops:

fosney
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Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby fosney » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:58 pm

Rotherhithe Tunnel

Can anyone remember going through Rotherhithe Tunnel on the number 82 double deck bus
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fosney
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby fosney » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:59 pm

Posted by George61

Hi Fosney,
Thank you so much for the No.82 bus photos.

The London Transport No. 82 buses ran on the Rotherhithe docklands route, 'Down town' as it was known locally. I travelled on these buses from my home in Rotherhithe, through Rotherhithe Tunnel to school in Stepney between 1959 and 1966. The Rotherhithe road Tunnel was pretty much as it is today, except that you could walk through it without much discomfort. The traffic and exhaust fumes were not so heavy then. At each end of the central straight, the ventilators consisted of four large fans in the roof. In our day, the ventilator shaft stairs were open to the public. This enabled you to shorten your journey by entering or leaving the tunnel without having to walk the long traffic approach roads.

The No.82 red double-deckers and their crews provided sterling service on a difficult route. They could be delayed for a variety of reasons. One of the various dockland bridges on the route being raised, traffic congestion or problems in the Rotherhithe Tunnel itself.

At this time the buses were AEC RTL types, standard buses with only minor adaptations, like re-inforced tyres, for driving through the narrow tunnel. The bus drivers had to be very good. Imagine driving a double-decker bus through a single bore tunnel that has two-way traffic with tight 120o bends at each end! During the journey through the tunnel, I remember the smell of hot rubber being drawn in through the open passenger doorway at the rear from the tyres continually rubbing against the kerbstones in the tunnel. Now there are severe height restrictions and the tunnel bores can only accommodate single-deckers. I would board the bus each school day morning at the southern entrance to the Rotherhithe Tunnel. There was a pub there with a bus stop in front of it before the current roundabout was put in. Sometimes the bus would be late, delayed by one of the swing bridges on the route being lifted to allow shipping through, ‘a Bridger’ as we called it. When this happened we would walk through the tunnel to Stepney. Not a task I would like to undertake now! At that time, the stairs around the two big ventilator shafts were open to the public. These led from the Tunnel to the surface. Quite often, if the bus slowed sufficiently at the bend, I would hop off and use the stairs as a shortcut home. This was a really dangerous practice. In those days, all buses had a conductor as well as a driver. A school friend of mine was once chastised by a conductor for his bad manners. He was eating a sandwich, in public, on the bus!

Fogbrain
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Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby Fogbrain » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:02 pm

I thought the tunnel had four vent shafts - one each side of the river with the really noisy fans and one with the stairs? The bus in the second photo is an RT (AEC engine as opposed to the Leyland in an RTL) but the body was identical - interchangable in fact. George mentions that there are now severe height restrictions and that the tunnel can only accommodate single-deckers, but I don't think this is quite correct. The height limit is 14' 9" which gives an RT and any modern double-decker three inches clearence. And the width limit is exactly the same today - 7' 6", which is fine for an RT. However, the second photo shows that the width limit did not apply to buses then (although I can't imagine how a routemaster would have got through past oncoming traffic) whereas today buses are not exempted, so all modern ones - single and double deck - (and routemasters!) are excluded. But there's nothing to stop my friend taking his preserved pre-war RT through the tunnel - other than good sense and a wish to continue preserving it. Although I do think he should put number 82 in the blinds and drive through just for the photo opportunity.
The weird arch, as seen in the second photo, is part of the shield that was used to bore the tunnel.

fosney
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Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby fosney » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:07 pm

Thanks to george61 and fogbrain for the comments on bus route 82 these are true memories of how things used to be - never to be experienced again - and part of Yesterday and Today at a time when this really happened, and is part of the history of Bermondsey life years ago.

fosney
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby fosney » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:40 pm

Posted by francis88

I remember the No82 bus only to well as I lived at Rotherhithe Estate Elgar street.(down town).
We would catch that particular bus mornings to school alighting at Surrey Docks Station and
catching the No 202 a single decker to the bottom of Galley Wall Rd,I went to Credon Rd school (1951).
We also would take the No 82 through the tunnel to the cinema at Stepney,one of which was
rather grand it's name eludes me the other was the Poplar a real bug hutch though they did show
Flash Gordon. I did enjoy those days.
francis88.

fosney
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby fosney » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:41 pm

Posted by George 61


When I was a child my parents took me to the same cinema in Stepney via the No 82 bus. The cinema was on the south side of Commercial Road and Caroline St. A few hundred yards walk from the No 82 bus stop. It closed in 1960 and was refurbished in 1963 as The London Opera Centre, as a training centre for Covent Garden Opera.
http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk ... re-stepney

fosney
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby fosney » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:42 pm

george61

Is this the Cinema in Stepney
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fosney
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: Rotherhithe Tunnel

Postby fosney » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:43 pm

Posted by George 61

Thanks Fosney, that's the one. Your photo certainly brings back some memories. I could never remember the name, now I know.


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