Thames Time Tunnel (the Woolwich Foot Tunnel Anomaly)


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Gordon Wright paused just inside the entrance to the Woolwich pedestrian subway, turning to the outside. The sky was full of birds, but they were not moving. They were frozen in place, in just one of the anamolies, generated by the Thames time tunnel.

The Woolwich foot tunnel was open to the public in 1912, so that dockyard workers could avoid using the ferry, to cross the river Thames, between their homes and their place of work. Excavating this tunnel, was an engineering nightmare, because of the saturation of the bed under the river. The riverbed was a mixture of sand and silt, and under high pressure at depth, the ground becomes liquid. As the excavation proceeded, the sides and roof of the muddy passage were shored up by the workmen who followed behind, with such speed that the project was threatened with flooding, only on rare occasions. Could the original builders, Walter Scott & Middleton, have owed their success to an anomaly in space-time? Could the flow of water underground have been slowed, or even halted?

Former Woolwich resident, Leonard Dignan, recalls using the foot tunnel regularly in 1959. He says it always took him longer to walk north, than it did to walk the same passage south. This effect of time dilation was more pronounced when the earth was disturbed by tunnel workmen. Scandal haunted the repair of the tunnel in 2011, whispers of shortcuts in construction, and rumors of kickbacks to building inspectors.

That is because, this was the only refurbishment, in the history of the London Department of Transport, to be completed eight months before deadline, and which used less than half of the money in its budget. A handful of the contractors have recently come forward, with a remarkable explanation, for a job that seems to have been rushed. They claim to have spent many hours working underground, but they would emerge from the tunnel, only minutes after entering it. Time would continue at a normal pace topside, after the contractor stepped out from under the dome of the red brick entrance, but in the depths of the Woolwich pedestrian subway, time stood still.

The inside of the pedestrian tube is lined with white tile... not a shade of ivory, but the bright white color of an egg shell. The leaky tiles needed to be replaced. Work was begun from both ends, and one side might grow short on construction materials. When a foreman at the southern entrance called by radio for more tiles, the transport of the pallet through the tunnel was assigned to Gordon Wright. According to Mr. Wright, he arrived at the southern end with a fully loaded pallet, exactly as the boss was setting down his radio. "I just called this in," the foreman said. "How did you get here so fast?"

It soon became obvious to everyone on the project, that the Woolwich Foot Tunnel anamoly could be of great advantage. Contractors arriving at eight AM could get in a full days work, and leave the site only minutes later, at eight-o-five. They would get the rest of the day off. Management on the job, believed the records of hours worked, had to be hidden from their masters in the Department of Transport, because workers were clocking in and out every day, in less than ten minutes.

One contractor claims that the twelve months during which he worked on passage repairs, were the worst three years of his life. His family warned him that he appeared to be aging at an accelerated rate, but he ignored the warning signs. Another contractor sounds like he is only half joking, when he says the tunnel was originally built, with assistance from the Ministry of Magic, so that no time would be lost by the dockyard laborers, as they walked through it.





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