Should you  live near enough to London, and should you happen to be free on Friday 12th or Saturday 13th March, you might like to visit Brunel's Thames Tunnel which stretches from Rotherhithe to Wapping and where, to recreate the original opening party of 1852, there will be a Fancy Victorian Fair. On both evenings you can expect to see characters in Victorian dress, food sellers, strongmen, jugglers and aerialists, all accompanied by music powered by steam.

When the tunnel first opened in 1843 - after eighteen years of construction, during which Isambard Kingdom Brunel was very nearly drowned - it contained a shopping arcade where visitors could purchase souveniers, such as commemorative plates.
But, what was then termed as being the eighth wonder of the world, paving the way for the tube transport system, soon became less attractive. It was frequented by prostitutes and thieves who hid in themselves in the arches before jumping out on their victims - as this articles from the Times Archive shows...

The VV can only hope that all surprises this coming weekend will be of a more pleasant  nature.


  1. I would love to attend something like this. It sounds not only interesting but fun! Hope to hear how it all went. Have a wonderful time.

  2. When we think of the Victorians, there is nothing they couldn't achieve. Especially in engineering, industry, medicine etc.

    But we never learn about the social history which, I would argue, is just as important - fairs, entertainments, foods, clothing, criminal behaviour etc. Thank you...I love it!

  3. Don't worry about having missed it! Enjoy the marketing material, the actual event had nothing to do with what was written! You would have just seen a bunch of people standing around in period costume, and another group, the bewildered ticket holders, looking for the non-existent event that they thought they'd bought tickets to! We had a good chuckle about it in the end, but I imagine there were some disappointed people!

  4. Oh, what a shame! I'm very sorry to hear that...and, as you say, so much had been promised.

    I do hope you didn't travel too far.