Williamson Tunnels, Liverpool

I first found out about Williamson Tunnel when I saw a short film about it on BBC News. I followed their Facebook page and I became very intrigued about it.

According to Wikipedia:-

The Williamson Tunnels consist of a labyrinth of tunnels in the Edge Hill area of Liverpool, England, which were built under the direction of the eccentric businessman Joseph Williamson between the early 19th century and 1840. They remained derelict, filled with rubble and refuse, until archaeological investigations were carried out in 1995. Since then excavations have been carried out and part of the labyrinth of tunnels has been opened to the public as a heritage centre.

While waiting for my sister in law’s graduation ceremony to end, my wife, CY and I visited the tunnels. We walked there and found that the place is located in the middle of some residential buildings.

There is a small exhibition hall at the entrance to the tunnel.

There are loads of artifacts dating to the 1800s such as China, bottles, jars and even an abandoned toy car were found. They are put on display. Some of these jars have engraved labels describing the products such as cream and marmite and trade marks of old traders such as W.P.Hartley (jam makers – still in existence today!), Patey & Co (purveyors of perfumes & cold Creams) and JW Lloyd Dentist.

The reason why Mr Williamson built the tunnel is unknown. But it is said that he wanted to give jobs to local men especially men who had just returned from the Napoleon War. The construction of the tunnels stopped upon the death of Mr. Williamson.

We took a tour of the tunnels. We had to wear helmets for our safety. The tunnels were damp and cold but nevertheless interesting. The excavation is currently done by volunteers in the weekends.

This connects to a cellar of a house above.

According to our tour guide, this pillar was a result of an attempt to build a foundation for a hostel located above ground. They did not know that there is a tunnel below hence they filled it up with cement.

We were told that the excavations are still on going as many parts of the tunnels remain undiscovered. If we come back in 4 to 5 more years, there will be more to explore! 

Unfortunately, the tour is rather short (about 40 minutes) but our tour guide was very informative. I was hoping that we get to see the deeper parts of the tunnel. Nevertheless, I got to see the tunnels after admiring it from the Internet!

Liverpool, England 2013

The last time I was in Liverpool was in 2001 with fellow members of the Sheffield University Clubbing Society (yes, there was a Clubbing Society!). We clubbed at the now Cream @ Nation. It was so long ago that I hardly remember how the club looked like but I do remember that we took a van to Liverpool and security at Nation was tight.

We came here for my sister-in-law’s graduation ceremony. The place doesn’t look familiar to me at all. Probably because the last time I came was 10 years ago and it was at night!

Unlike London, Liverpool wasn’t crowded. Taxi was cheap and I managed to find good coffee places!

We spent a lot of our time wandering around Liverpool city. Getting around is cheap and easy. One can call a private cab (eg Delta cabs) and they will quickly despatch one within 5 minutes. They will even text you the cab number and model!

We stayed at Travelodge, located opposite of Albert Dock. It’s quite strategic as everything was nearby. The room is however mediocre. I wandered around Albert Dock to take some sunset pictures.

A building called Streaky Bacon – cause it looks like bacon. Sounds legit.

I didn’t manage to see much of Liverpool. I spent most of the time wandering around the city’s shopping streets while waiting for my wife to finish her shopping. I even spent couple of hours in Oxfam but I found one late 1800 book going out for 10 pounds. I also visit Standford, a store that sells mainly maps and travel books. They have been in business for more than 160 years.

As for my sister in law’s graduation ceremony, it was lively outside the graduation hall. Proud parents were brimming with smiles and thousand of photographs were taken just on that moment. I still have my graduation photo taken with my dad on my table.

A few of us didn’t get to enter the convocation hall as we did not have passes. Instead of waiting for the others to finish the ceremony, we walked to Williamson Tunnels, a labyrinth dug by men hired by an eccentric philanthropist in the 1800s. I first found out about this place from BBC News. I’ll write more of this later.

Dalston, London

Kat brought us to Dalston (Daston Kingsland Station) for brunch at L’Atelier. It’s an interesting part of the city with a mixture of locals and immigrants. But some parts of the town stink of urine.

L’Atelier is recommended for their food. We tried toast with salmon and scrambled eggs, and salmon and avocado. I think the food is just okay but the industrial deco made the place look hip. I guess its a hipster hangout.

We went back to Dalton for brunch again on our own but we had it at Dalton Superstore. I find the food here okay. Nothing to shout about. Anyway, this place is few doors away from L’Atelier.

The interesting bit of Dalston to me is the Dalston House. It’s actually a large mirror with a mock facade of a Victorian house on the floor. You can stand, sit or lie on the floor and the reflection of the mirror made it look as if you’re hanging on the Victorian House! There is no admission fee but the queue to have your pictures taken is pretty long!

Unfortunately, Dalston House is just a short term exhibition. It was closed after 4 August 2013!