Friday, 13 July 2012

Queensway Tunnel, Birkenhead to Liverpool, England

The Queensway Tunnel is a road tunnel under the River Mersey, in the north west of England, between Liverpool and Birkenhead. It is often called the Birkenhead Tunnel, to distinguish it from the Kingsway Tunnel, which serves Wallasey. At the time of its construction it was the longest underwater tunnel in the world, a title it held for 24 years. The tunnel, which cost a total of £8 million, was opened on 18 July 1934 by King George V; the opening ceremony was watched by 200,000 people. The tunnel was under construction when Lowry was still living on the Wirral in the early 1930's.

Lowry must have seen the Ealing Comedy The Magnet (1950) at a cinema in Vancouver in the early 1950s as he refers to the film in his short story 'Ghostkeeper'; "Then there is a short description of the film which is continually interrupted - for Mary Goodheart-by Tommy saying “……..The tunnel had not quite been completed when I left England though it was already in use.” (Psalms & Songs Pg. 217)

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