Take a 40 minute guided tour through a reopened section of the Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre, a unique labyrinth of tunnels. Learn about Williamson’s motives for their construction, and find out about the lives of the hundreds of workers who built them, in the adjacent heritage centre.
Surely one of Liverpool’s most eccentric characters, Joseph Williamson aka The Mole of Edge Hill, spent much of his life either tunnelling beneath the city, or building arches in the sunken sandstone quarries and promptly burying them. A subterranean labyrinth, built by a lunatic philanthropist, forgotten for decades, now opened up to the public? It’s a fairytale story, of the type with which Liverpool is rife.
Whatever the reason, the tunnels remained something of a subterranean mystery, until this new heritage centre was opened – allowing the public access into the troglodyte tunnel system winding beneath the pavements and housing estates to the north of the city.
The tunnels are accessed via a visitor’s centre on the way out to Edge Lane. It’s a strange part of Liverpool, once the city’s boundary, now something of a no-man’s land between the city centre and Kensington. There can’t be much passing trade.
The Williamson story is a fascinating one. Was he a vainglorious meglomaniac? Or was one the city’s biggest ever benefactors with an eccentric edge? He did, after all, provide employment for thousands of hungry and desperate men.
Look out for a slim metal pole, rising out of the gloom to the tunnel’s ceiling – this once was the only support for a 20 storey block of flats rising above the hollowed-out ground below.
Williamson Tunnels is one of Liverpool’s most enigmatic attractions. Unique, bizarre and eerie they are unlike anything else in the region.
Williamson TunnelsWilliamson Tunnels,
The Old Stableyard,