Digging Deeper

Construction work at British Museum stn January 1898 2004 15495 copy

The Museum’s new permanent exhibition, Digging Deeper, tells the story of tunnelling from the troubled Brunel tunnel under the Thames in the mid-19th century, to the innovations of James Greathead, a pioneering engineer who invented the ground-breaking ‘Greathead’ digging machine. The display shows how the tunnelling history of the past links directly to the giant tunnelling machines used by Crossrail to construct the new Elizabeth line, which opens in December 2018.

The most striking feature in the exhibition is a giant audio-visual tunnel projection and a life-size recreation of the tunnelling shield that dug the world’s first electric tube railway in 1890, overlaid with footage from the Elizabeth line and the latest Northern line extension tunnels.

Younger visitors can be engineers for a day and build their own tunnel, using a set of foam tunnel rings.

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