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October 13, 2017
It might be called after Victoria but it’s no secret.
The members of Team Blumilk are seldom in the dark. They were last night, during a tour of Newcastle’s hidden subterranean wagonway gem – The Victoria Tunnel. However, the tour did enlighten them of the history of the City and its Ouseburn creative quarter.
Built between 1839 and 1842, the tunnel virtually runs under its Media 5 HQ at a depth of around 15 metres. It was used to transport coal 3.9 KMs from a mine at the City’s Town Moor, under Newcastle’s City Centre, to jetties on the River Tyne. The coal was then transferred to boats for export by sea.
The regular 2-hour guided tours of the Tunnel, arranged by The Ouseburn Trust, provide a graphic description of the coal mining heritage of Newcastle, the one-time Black Gold capital of North East England. The tours also offer a fabulous insight into the use of the Tunnel as an air raid shelter for 1000s of Newcastle people during World War 2 (1939-1945).
In its industrial heyday, wagons full of coal would travel down the length of the Tunnel to the Tyne. The emptied wagons would then be hauled back to the mine, by a stationary steam engine, for reloading. The Colliery closed in 1860 and the Tunnel abandoned for almost 80 years until it was converted into an air raid shelter. It remains largely intact to this day.
For more about this gem of a place – The Victoria Tunnel and also Ouseburn, Blumilk’s Newcastle neighbourhood – check out…https://www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/visit-vt
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