The Mole of Edge Hill

The Mole of Edge Hill

Today (10th March) in 1769 Joseph Williamson was born.  He would come to be known as both the ‘King of Edge Hill’ and the ‘Mole of Edge Hill’ for his labyrinth of underground tunnels that he had constructed in Liverpool.  Various theories as to the purpose of the tunnels have been ventured but the most prevailing seems to be as an act of philanthropy to employ hundreds of men who would otherwise have been unemployed following the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

The Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels invited me for a tour of the work they are currently undertaking in excavating the paddington tunnels in Edge Hill, just behind the Bear’s Paw pub.  The scale of the excavation is very impressive and I was taken through a mere fraction of the collection of finds they have uncovered from clay pipes and codd bottles to bones and chinese pottery.

The Friends of Williamson Tunnels was founded in 1996.  For more information about their story and their work please see their website  http://www.williamsontunnels.com/index.htm

If archaeology is your thing, or history, or getting stuck in with a pick and shovel then why not consider joining them? membership costs only £5 annually for an individual membership and working parties of like minded and jovial volunteers can be found there each weekend excavating the tunnels at paddington and preserving the finds.

Finds from the Paddington tunnels site

Finds from the Paddington tunnels site

 

Volunteers excavating weekly

Volunteers excavating weekly

The remainder of Joseph Williamson's House on Mason Street

The remainder of Joseph Williamson’s House on Mason Street

 

3 Comments

  1. It was a pleasure to show you around Harriet and you are welcome back anytime to see how we are getting on :) Paddington is an amazing place and The Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels are a great bunch of people. I went for a visit on Archaeology Week 2011 and have not been away since. The dedication that they have shown over the years is quite remarkable. :) x

    Reply
  2. Quite a surprise what’s hidden below a small hatch cover that sited behind the Bears Paw pub. You enter a world that’s been hidden from view for decades. Every week it changes as the volunteers excavate and expose more of this secret world. Huge amount of artifacts on display, all this work is done without any funding from any organisation. If you are interested in Liverpools history it’s something that you have got to see.

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  3. Williamson retired from his business in 1818 but continued to be a landlord, one of his tenants being the Unitarian philosopher , James Martineau .

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