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Hidden History of London

London's Hidden History
Island Gardens

If you alight at only one station after reading this make it Island Gardens. The view across the river to Greenwich has changed little since Sir Christopher Wren stood admiring his handwork and Canaletto captured it most famously on canvas.

Wonder at Greenwich Palace, the Old Royal Naval College, the Queen's House and the magnificent National Maritime Museum. Spectacular you must agree.

The bonus at Island Gardens, as if you needed one, is the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Built in 1902 and designed by Sir Alexander Binnie on a budget of one hundred and eighty thousand pounds!

It is just under a quarter of a mile long (390 metres) and lies 53 feet (16 metres) below the high water mark. The tunnel is 11 feet (3.4 metres) in diameter and there are 100 steps on the Greenwich side and 88 steps on the Island Gardens side - boring; that's enough statistics.

Now fancy this, the London County Council compensated the watermen (the ferry operators) for loss of business when the tunnel opened. The first and last time that ever happened!

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