Celebrations on completion of the Queensway Mersey Tunnel

photo of crowds around the tunnel entrance

Detail of page 3 from the Queensway Mersey Tunnel souvenir album: Liverpool; tunnel entrance with royal stand. Archive reference number 11256-8

At completion the tunnel had cost just under £8,000,000 with the government’s contribution at £2,500,000.  The length of the tunnel between the two principal entrances; Old Haymarket in Liverpool and King’s Square in Birkenhead, is 3.4 km (2.1 miles).  In his speech George V paid glowing tribute to the entire enterprise, to the vision of those who planned it and in particular to the men who excavated it;

"May those who use it ever keep grateful thought of the many who struggled for long months against mud and darkness to bring it into being."

The Queensway Mersey tunnel was seen as a superlative engineering achievement; a road link between Liverpool and Birkenhead to reduce congestion of cross-Mersey traffic and an aspiration to expand communication and incentivise the flow of commerce to and from Liverpool and Birkenhead and beyond. Additionally during a period of depressed employment the tunnel scheme provided work and industry contracts for the supply of iron, steel and concrete.

At the time of the opening this achievement was also celebrated by a Royal Tunnel Week, which included street processions and decorated motorised vehicles; this had been an expensive and successful enterprise, a symbol of Liverpool and Birkenhead’s self-confidence to attract investment and something to be openly and publicly celebrated, as it was, a hundred years ago.

See all of the Stewart Bale photographs from the souvenir album of the official openign on this website.