Letter: Tunnel vision

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From Lord Howie of Troon

Sir: In his excellent article ("The Great Bore in its time - a forgotten gem in ours", 22 March) on Marc Brunel's Thames tunnel, Dan Cruickshank says that a request was made to Stephen Dorrell's Department of National Heritage for the tunnel to be listed as a building of architectural or historic interest.

The request was turned down as the tunnel seems not to meet the department's requirements under these categories, though it is hard to see how the world's first underwater tunnel could fail to be of some historic interest.

Since then, however, the Government has accepted an amendment to the Environment Bill, which has just passed through the Lords on its way to the Commons and which added "engineering interest" to these criteria. The tunnel is obviously of both engineering and historic interest.

Can the department be persuaded to think again before it is too late?

Yours sincerely,


London, NW11

22 March