Chelsea Tunnel, Seething Wells

The Chelsea Tunnel was listed before the portal could be destroyed. Although now covered by thick vegetation it is possible to see through these pictures how the site would have looked (2002). Coal, sand, grit, shell would be loaded into hoppers on rails, to be man-propelled down the rake into the tunnels and under the road to the coalstores. Fig. 1 clearly shows the rake down to the Chelsea tunnel. There was consternation when the red pipe (Fig.2) was fitted without the appropriate permissions, across the listed tunnel although it is not known whether the Conservation Team ever carried out enforcement action. Although one brick has always been loosened to allow bat access Fig.3 , it is thought that the brick has been entirely removed in recent years, although the dense vegetation across the portal now creates a barrier into the tunnel. Fig.4. This is perceived as an unfortunate limitation on the accuracy of the eagerly awaited Archaeological Assessment, 2011, which will accompany the ‘pre-development’ Environmental Impact Assessment. The tunnel has been blocked from the university side to prevent parties within the interior, on a serious note there is a danger of gas build up from this type of structure which must be treated as a confined space in terms of Health and Safety legislation 

Fig. 1 The rake down to the Chelsea Tunnel

Fig.2 The Tunnel portal showing the unauthorised red pipe

Fig.3 The loosened breeze block allowing ventilation as well as bat access

Fig.4 Chelsea Tunnel Interior


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