31 March 2020 - Bramhope Tunnel North Portal - England
Bramhope Tunnel North Portal
- England -
This Gothic castle-like portal is a testament to the amazing craftsmanship of the navvies who built the railway tunnel.
The Bramhope Tunnel was built for the Leeds to Thirsk railway line at the height of England’s
railroad mania in the 1840s. Around the village today, you can see four
of the 20 original airshafts intact, a tall sighting tower and plenty
of large earth piles that look almost like small hills along the length
of the tunnel. If you follow them far enough, they will lead you to this
incredible castle-like facade.
At the north entrance of the Bramhope Tunnel, a Gothic-style castellated
portal was built from sandstone rock. It has three side towers with
turrets, and a horseshoe-shaped archway decorated with a carving of a
bearded man (possibly the likeness of the landowner for whom the facade
was built). The portal is sadly somewhat in disrepair now, and often has
graffiti emblazoned on it.
The tunnel and the visible castle facade were constructed between 1845
to 1849 by hundreds of navvies—railway workers—who came from all over
the United Kingdom
and lived with their families in the area. Aside from the north portal,
the tunnel is known for its impressive length, stretching just over 2
In the end, when it was built, the entire railway line from
Leeds to Thirsk cost over £2 million. It sadly also cost lives. At the
time, roughly 23 workers were thought to have lost their lives building
the tunnel; however, records of many others have been uncovered since. A
replica of the north portal was erected as a memorial to the workers in
the churchyard of Otley parish nearby.
Clancy's comment: In all my travels around the world, I've always appreciated the workmanship of structures like this. And, as opposed to many modern structures, they will be standing for many years to come.