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Songs and Poems

Many songs and poems were written about the Thames Tunnel during the nineteenth-century. Some praised Marc Brunel’s work while others were more satirical or critical. See below for a selection of Thames Tunnel verse. 

C. Page – Oh! What Fun!  (1843)
Well, I never!
Did you ever know such fun.
We’re, quite amphibious grown of late,
And all thro’ one great Brunel.
We now can underwater live, 
he’s shewn us by the tun-nel:
Tho’ many can’t well live on land,
The times so hard are getting;
The river’s depth they now can sound,
And that without a wetting.
Oh! what fun – Well I never!
Did you ever know such fun. 
J. Bruton – Old Father Thames and the Thames Tunnel (1843)

Then hail, Brunel, great architect! 
may sorrow never shade your lot
Enjoying all the honours
that by a lucky spade you’ve got,
Toby, that great learned Pig
a penny ‘twas to view, sir,
And this, the greatest Bore on earth, 
is just a penny, too, sir!


T. Gent – On the Rupture of the Tunnel (1828)

Every poor Quidnunc now condemns 
The Tunnel underneath Old Thames, 
And swears, his science all forgetting, 
Friend Brunel’s judgment wanted whetting; 
‘Tis thus great characters are dish’d, 
When they get wetter than was wish’d,


J. A. Hoy – Have You seen the Tunnel? (1846)

Have you seen the Tunnel? Allow me to enquire,
This most noble structure all the world must admire,
It is well ventilated and lighted with Gas,
And no smoking allowed by any one class.
The Tunnel’s constructed like unto a cave,
By stairs you descend its shaft under the wave.

Some thousands of persons to the Tunnel have been,
A visit was paid by our most Gracious Queen;
At the Tunnel Bazaar too stalls there were many,
You may buy what you please; admittance one penny.
The Tunnel’s constructed like unto a cave,
A subterranean passage right under the wave.


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