WILLIAMSON'S TUNNELS REDISCOVERED
A review of our May meeting
On Tuesday 15th May David Head, a Friend of Williamson's Tunnels, gave us a talk with slides. It was a fascinating story. Joseph Williamson came to Liverpool in the late eighteenth century to work for Richard Tate, a tobacco merchant, eventually marrying his daughter Becky and taking over the business when Tate retired. He had a country house in Wavertree Road and a town house in Wolstenholme Square.
There was a great deal of unemployment in Liverpool after the Napoleonic Wars, and Williamson used labour to build houses, excavate the sandstone and construct a labyrinth of brickwork tunnels under Edge Hill. At one time, it is said, he employed a third of the Liverpool workforce! Williamson died in 1840 and was buried in the Tate family grave in St Thomas's Church, at the bottom end of Paradise Street. A car park now occupies the site.
Now that the tunnels have been rediscovered, some of them have had to be reinforced and an enormous amount of rubbish, dropped down from above, has had to be removed. Thanks to David Head and the other Friends, though, the Tunnels should now be safe from destruction - and maybe eventually open to the public.