(Movable Book)

Sketches of the Works for the Tunnel under the Thames from Rotherhithe to Wapping.

(London): Mssrs. Harvey and Darton, 1828. Oblong 64mo. (30)ff. Robustly illustrated with engravings of the Tunnel's construction, and punctuated with explanatory text for the project's history and the various aspects of its creation, given in lay terms. The Thames tunnel was the first known tunnel to have been built successfully underneath a navigable river. The illustrations include architectural plans and engineering diagrams for the project, as well as an engraving showing the tunnel as it would look when completed, lit with gas lamps. Diagrams also demonstrate exactly how workers were able to remove earth and lay bricks using Marc Brunel's revolutionary tunneling shield. One further double-page diagram, affixed to a tab at the end of the text, shows the soil strata of the excavation site, with color-printed layers pasted onto the sheet. Construction on the tunnel began in 1825 and was finally completed in 1843. At the time that this booklet was published, crews had completed 600 of the planned 1,300 feet of the tunnel's length, but work was halted after the excavation hit the riverbed above and water from the Thames flooded the tunnel. Three images illustrate the conditions of the riverbed that led to the problem and another shows the company's solution. An introduction dated July 1828 addresses this accident, though it does not reference another flood that took place in January of 1828, killing six men. It is likely that this booklet was produced in an effort to reassure the public and reignite enthusiasm (and funding) for the project after these accidents. This effort was ultimately unsuccessful, and the project was shelved for seven years, not beginning again until 1834. More guides such as this were produced after construction on the tunnel resumed. Bound in marbled paper covers with paper label and brown paper spine. Exterior generally rubbed, a few pages stained, and edge of one fold-out plate worn, else a near fine copy of a rare look at this monumental tunnel project. Item #29364

Price: $600.00