© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Holograph technical drawing (Scale 1:300) showing the proposed line of final section, with existing and proposed shafts and boreholes, rock and sand, strata, and Richard Trevithick's proposed 'Cassoon', a device to enable workers to work on the river bed. The Thames Driftway was one of several unsuccessful attempts to excavate a tunnel under the Thames. The project was begun by Robert Vazie, a Cornish mining engineer in 1802, and was taken over by Trevithick in 1805. Trevithick succeeded in digging a 1000 foot long timbered driftway, but in 1808 the tunnel flooded and the project was abandoned. It was not until Marc Isambard Brunel's tunnel between Rotherhithe and Wapping opened in 1843 that the idea of a Thames Tunnel became reality.