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Peep-show of engineering marvel

by on December 16, 2008

Peep show from John Johnson Collection, Bodleian Library

Peep show from John Johnson Collection, Bodleian Library

Designed by Marc Isambard Brunel and completed in 1843, the tunnel under the Thames between Rotherhithe and Wapping was constructed using Brunel’s invention, the cast-iron “Tunnel Shield”, enabling thirty-six workmen to excavate in separate cells, the whole device being slowly moved forward as the tunnel grew.

Originally a foot tunnel, it was converted to railway use in 1869, and eventually became part of the London Underground.

This folding paper peep show enables the viewer to see foot passengers promenading in the tunnel. The arches help to indicate perspective. It was probably sold as a souvenir. Even before completion of the tunnel, the canny businessman Brunel allowed visitors to tour the works, at the cost of one shilling.
Wikipedia : Thames Tunnel

One Comment
  1. Have long loved these marvels of paper engineering and illusion. It is very hard to see many, let alone try to make one myself, but I keep trying. Everyone who does these is self-taught these days. Am so glad for museum collections that save these marvels.

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