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The single bore Rotherhithe Tunnel (1,481 m) under the River Thames in East London (UK), connecting Limehouse in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets north of the river to Rotherhithe in the London Borough of Southwark south of the river, designated the A101, was formally opened by George Prince of Wales (later King George V), and Richard Robinson, Chairman of the London County Council. Designed by Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice, the Engineer to the London County Council the work took place between 1904 and 1908. In the construction stage an intrepid reporter from the Daily News went into the tunnel to see its construction, here is part of his article. "By exercising a little care you step into a lift, an Iron cage open at each end, on the floor of which are a pair of rails to take a skip. A little bell rings somewhere, and you cling to a rod overhead as the lift tumbles down a dark hole at an ever-Increasing speed. It seems hours, but it is really only a few seconds, and you step out of the lift into a new world, a world full of more eerie men with clay wigs, pale faced, and almost naked, for the temperature lies in the neighbourhood of the eighties, and the work is very hard indeed. Tram lines, baulks of timber, puddles of water, and bags of cement, all these have to be carefully negotiated, and you at last reach the shield that cuts its way through the soil at the rate of about five feet per day. Presently you become painfully aware of the closeness of the atmosphere, and understand better than ever the economy in clothing exercised by the workmen, who rush about like ants in a nest, some pushing the skips, loaded and empty, others trimming, yet more wrestling with a huge segment of cast iron that is to be immured in its cell of concrete and be buried in the walls of the tunnel for perhaps thousands of years."
Rotherhithe-Stepney tunnel c.1908