Notebook of Thaddeus Royce Entry No. 2 - Roman Tunnels Discovered Under Albert Embankment

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Albert Embankment Contstruction c. 1868
Roman Tunnels Discovered Under Albert Embankment

London Times
15 June 1868

Excitement was the order of the day at the Albert Embankment works. In a late day interview, Sir Joseph Bazalgette of the Metropolitan Board of Works confirmed the discovery of Ancient Roman Tunnels on the site.

“While cutting into a small slipway, named White Hart Draw Dock, we intercepted a much earlier structure. In the past, we have uncovered a 15th century foundation and several caches of Royal Doulton shards, but the two tunnels – 20 feet apart and descending away from the river - are clearly early Roman in origin. We hope this discovery will uncover a significant chapter in early London history.”

Sir Joseph went on to note that work on the Albert Embankment would continue with the draining of the surrounding marsh. Digging would be suspended pending the arrival of archaeologists from the British Museum. More reports will be forthcoming on this sensational event.

Albert Embankment Tunnels Revealed to be Simple Wells

London Times
18 June 1868

In a decidedly low-key announcement, Sir Joseph Bazalgette today announced that the two early Roman tunnels discovered under the Albert Embankment works last week have been determined to be dead-ends – simple wells used by the Romans to hold water during times of drought. Construction has resumed on the Albert Embankment and no further investigations will be made.

From the notebook of Thaddeus Royce, Baring House investigator:

17 March 1892 – 2:00am - Not much in the Baring House archives on the Albert Embankment or Sir Joseph Bazalgette – just a few articles about some archaeological discoveries during construction. TR