Point of Interest

Islington Tunnel

England / Europe

Islington Tunnel is the longest tunnel of the Regent’s Canal, being 886 metres long. It has no towpath through it, so that pedestrians and cyclists are forced to go up through Islington in order to regain their route along the towpath.Islington Tunnel was opened in 1820, having been built by the Regent Canal’s engineer, James Morgan. In 1812 a competition was launched to choose a designer for the tunnel, but this was a fiasco, and finally Morgan was entrusted with the task. There were problems in passing under certain land in the possession of difficult landowners, and the process of building the tunnel took over five years. Work was completed by 1818 but the tunnel was not opened for business until two years later.At first the barges passed through the tunnel by the process of legging, men lying on their backs and moving it along with their feet on the roof of the tunnel. Later a steam boat tug was introduced to pull the barges through. The Islington Tunnel is noted for being especially straight.

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