Greenwich

Foot tunnels

History of the foot tunnels

The Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels were originally built in 1902 and 1912 respectively. The purpose of the tunnels was to provide reliable all-weather access by local residents to the London shipyards and docks on the north side of the Thames.

Both foot tunnels were built by the former London County Council.

The tunnels supported a workforce of 15 people, although many thousands continue to pass through them daily.

Foot tunnels management

The Royal Borough of Greenwich manages the tunnels on joint behalf of its respective partners, The London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the London Borough of Newham. Until 1964, Woolwich Foot Tunnel joined a Norman created enclave of Kent located on the north bank of the Thames.

Refurbishment works

Following a complex refurbishment programme both Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels have been restored to full operational use. The refurbishment work is now complete with the final phase finishing on time and within budget.

The refurbishment package included:

  • four brand new 24-hour customer-operated lifts (which have reused the original interiors)
  • universal CCTV coverage for customer safety
  • upgraded lighting
  • surface level lift availability signs
  • new roofs to the rotundas
  • renewal or replacement of much of the vital structural components 'behind the scenes'.

The foot tunnels are listed structures and so the refurbishment work was careful to ensure that much of the historical atmosphere was retained.