33 Derby Rd, Nottingham NG1 5AW
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Park Tunnel, 33 Derby Rd, Nottingham NG1 5AW|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Park Tunnel is not a tunnel. Intended as the main access to an exclusive Victorian residential area, an engineering error rendered it useless. So it is actually a 106 m long tunnel ending nowhere.
In the 19th century Nottingham Castle was owned by the Duke of Portland. He also owned the ground beneath the castle. At this time the city was rapidly industrializing and there was agreat demand for new housing. So he converted some of his ground into an exclusive residential development. impressive residences were constructed by Nottingham’s competing architectural prodigies, Watson Fothergill and T.C. Hine for Nottingham’s burgeoning middle class. The result is today a huge residential area known as The Park.
Located west of the castle it was outside the city walls, which are east of the castle. And unfortunately it was also below the escarpment, on which the city was built. The idea was now the connect the central road of the city, Derby Road, to The Park by a tunnel through the sandstone. The Duke commissioned T.C. Hine to excavate the tunnel. It should be grand and impressive, and to be suitable for the heavy horse-drawn carriages of the day, an maximum incline of 1 in 14 along the tunnel was defined. But after its completion, the incline was found to be 1 in 12. This made it too steep for even the strongest horses to haul a carriage, and the tunnel was abandoned. The Park was accessed by several roads, the tunnel was used as a footpath.
The tunnel exists until today and is still an footpath, it is open to pedestrians, but rarely used, except by tourists. The lower end is located at the end of the Tunnel Road, but as there is no traffic the cul de sac has become a private road of Park Estate. The other end, which is close to Derby Road, is accessed through double gates marked "Parkgate and the Convent." It is a parking lot shared by a convent and office buildings, and from outside you would never guess a Victorian tunnel behind the dull 50s facade. Its also possible to enter the tunnel in the middle, where the tunnel has no ceiling. A street called The Ropewalk has a railing which offers a view from above into the tunnel and a staircas with steep Victorian-era steps down into the tunnel. Despite not being used actually, the tunnel is well kept and has electric light.