Queensway Tunnel:
Liverpool photo tour

Liverpool is a rapidly redeveloping city. Not so long ago it seemed to have no end of grim, dilapidated buildings to be reinvigorated. No matter how long it had been undergoing regeneration, the programme just continued. Today, however, the work that took place leading up to its time as City of Culture has left it much improved from the way it once looked. But in the midst of this rapidly brightening picture, between the mainline rail station and the main shopping area, is a windswept and unwelcoming tundra of concrete surrounding the Queensway Tunnel entrance.

Bryn Buck went on a walking tour of the area to take in the sights.

The mosaic

The mosaic placed above the tunnel portal is mentioned in the literature from 1934, and gives the impression that it is original to the tunnel, but its appearance is much newer. A nearby plaque reveals that it is a replica of the original mosaic, placed here in 1994 on the tunnel's diamond jubilee. It is a shame that, like so much else at the Liverpool end, the original feature did not survive.

Peter Cowley writes:

"The original mosaic, 100 inches in diameter, minus its granite surrounds, ended up in my front garden in Birkenhead in 1967, having been informed that due to the ravages of time and the war it was not considered worth saving and so long as I removed it within 10 days it was mine to keep! The night of the destruction and removal I learnt the meaning of public apathy. The local police station, 100 yards away had never heard of the mosaic, "whot's a mosayec matey?" Mersey tunnel police cars, motorists and pedestrians never challenged us whilst my friend and I desecrated a public monument and loaded it into an overloaded Cortina saloon, and then drove through the tunnel praying we didn't break down and have to be towed out at enormous expense!

"After reconstruction as best I could with the existing bits the spaces were filled in with painted concrete, but it provided a stage for our daughters and friends to play on much to the neighbours amusement and envy. We moved house after 15 years and couldn't face a repeat exercise but our buyers broke it up and sent to the tip! So much for history! 12 years later in 1994 the Mersey tunnel office found the original correspondence and managed to track me down by my name, but they were sadly disappointed to hear of the mosaic's demise.

"And it was one of my daughters who came across this item on your website who is now a civil engineer working for a firm of consultants involved in the original design of the tunnel, and she knows that the replacement mosaic is nowhere as good as or big as the original, she has first hand, and foot, experience."

Picture credits

  • All photographs on this page appear courtesy of Bryn Buck.