I can’t for the life of me remember where this image came from, I found it while I was looking for a photo of the various entrances to the Greenwich Park tunnels near the Conduit House in the west of the park, which of course I can’t find, but hey, it’s probably more interesting anyway.
Michael was digging around old Freedom of Information requests and found a couple of fascinating reports that he’s sent me.
The first is a general overview of the tunnels in the park which gives good basic information. I don’t think it’s got anything we haven’t talked about many times before but it’s always good to read new documents about things such as this.
The second I found much more interesting, as it’s a 2009 report by a Nottinghamshire-based company (why they didn’t use local experts I don’t know…) who went down to check out the tunnels – presumably as part of the Olympic preparations to check they weren’t going to cave in. I guess it would have been useful and quelled a bit of hysteria if they’d made the fact they were doing it public at the time but hey, it’s an interesting enough read now.
I’m assuming that the photographic reproduction in the original report is a bit better quality than the copy but even with the horrid, grainy pixellated images we have it’s a fascinating read. I love the skeleton of an abandoned wheelbarrow that lies propped up in a corner.
I’ll not reinvent the wheel(barrow) here – you can read it for yourselves – but it seems to be a pretty thorough report, with a view to wildlife too (no bats, sadly…) and a fascinating read. I love the stuff about the Nicholas Hawksmoor’s Air Raid Shelter.
Something the report does throw up is that the tunnels are pretty sound, which puts me in mind of something that keeps coming to me as a possible money-making wheeze for Royal Parks. Why not do ‘potholing’ expeditions of the tunnels for small groups, led by cavers? I know I’d be straight down there – and I’m sure lots of other people would sign up for a guided tour of the tunnels. After all, the generations before us all clambered about down there. I feel left out.
I guess there are a gazillion H&S forms to fill out and risk assessment stuff a-gogo but hell – so must there be for the sky walk thing over the O2 and that’s going great guns, They must be coining it. I know which I’d rather do.
Michael has put in an FOI request of his own, to see the rest of the report and I’m going to reproduce the request here as I think it’s a great example of how one should be done. Officials must get so many aggressive ‘You’ve clearly got something to hide, you’re a bad person, show me all the documents that prove that my suggestion isn’t true’ requests that a polite, specific ask must be a blessed relief. I know that if I were a weary public servant and got Michael’s request I’d be more inclined to push it to the top of the pile.
I’ll let you know when he gets that speedy reply…