‘The Tunnel Through Time’ by Gillian Tindall

Cover.jpg.rendition.460.707Jerry White at The Guardian:

The Crossrail project is proving to be quite an adventure. Even those of with little interest in engineering will have marvelled at the TV pictures of the irresistible monsters carving through London clay 30 metres deep, or the microsurgery in steel and concrete necessary to negotiate the jungle of tunnels while irreplaceable old buildings teetered on the edge of the Crossrail pit. A notable, solid achievement of the Blair and Brown governments has been one of the great infrastructure investments of 21st-century Europe. It has made engineering fashionable again, and revealed to us new marvels below the surface of London.

It is this last aspect of Crossrail that Gillian Tindall elucidates here, with all her customary energy and flair. She brings to it a lifetime’s love of metropolitan history and a dense and quirky knowledge of London lore. It is the central span of Crossrail that interests her, with its new tunnels running east and west linking Paddington with Whitechapel. The tunnels themselves are mostly too deep to reveal anything even of the two millennia of London’s story, but the intermediate stations at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street, and the new ventilation shaft at Stepney Green, are necessarily shallower. These, and the extra-long platforms demanded by Crossrail traffic, require newer ground to be uncovered.

more here.