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.