The horses and carts would be drawn onto lifts which would take them
deep down to the tunnel. They would then trot through and onto a lift at the other
end. This was the only tunnel under the Clyde.
Extract from AA Touring Guide
to Scotland, 1975:
"In each tower there were six segments of hydraulic
hoist, three for up traffic and three for down. The hoists were provided by the
Otis Elevator Company of New York, and the chairman of the Harbour Tunnel Company
replied to criticisms from the Glasgow engineering establishment about the use
of foreign machinery by saying that they were the best available.
on July 15, 1895 that the Harbour Tunnel opened for business. This was during
the Glasgow Fair holidays, and traffic was light for the first week. On the following
Monday, however, when only half the hoists on each side were working, 218 vehicles
used the tunnel during its opening period of 05.00 to 19:00 hrs.
day it was 272, and the secretary of the Otis Company's London subsidiary reported
that 'the horses generally have taken most kindly to the lifts, and are carried
up and down without trouble. Carters said that by avoiding the steep inclines
at the nearby ferries they could take five extra bags of flour per journey."
time passed the costs of running the Rotundas became more than the revenue they
created and they were eventually run-down then closed as cars took over from horse
and cart. In 1932 a columnist in the Evening Citizen could still write about a
journey beneath the Clyde:
|A view up the Clyde|
door of the passenger tunnel has long been disused, and foot-passengers now enter
by one of the four elevators for vehicles at the other side of the rotunda. Choosing
the company of a horse and lorry as preferable to that of a motor-car, I soon
found myself smoothly and quietly descending among a bewildering medley of wheels
and cables, through which I could see the mouth of the old disused foot-passenger
tunnel as we passed on the way down. At the bottom water oozed through the iron
sides of the great tube, which has never been totally watertight. At one place
a single stalactite a font long hung from the roof.'
Sadly the pedestrian
tunnel was closed on 4th April 1980. This tunnel is now only used for access to
water mains. Both the vehicular tunnels were filled in in 1986.
re-developed during the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival as the 'Dome of Discovery'
the South Rotunda has since been derelict awaiting improvement. The North Rotunda
was used as a casino and is now a Japanese Restaurant.
Library has some great pictures of the tunnels in action.
Directions: It's now a straight path all the way along to the Suspension
Bridge at the end of the walk.