Isle of Wight Observer – late summer, 1878

The Railway tunnel – 1878

THE WORKS ON THE ESPLANADE – During the past week the new works on the Esplanade have been diligently proceeded with, and two very thick walls have been built right across the Esplanade from the end of the Victoria basin to the bottom of Dover-street. These are apparently to be the sides of the tunnel. The hole on the piece of enclosed ground has been partially filled up. The works on the shore have also been commenced, and a stage supported by iron piles erected on the east side of the pier.

September 28, 1878
THE NEW WORKS ON THE ESPLANADE –  Wonderful progress has been made by the contractor of the new railway works. The cutting which has been made across the Esplanade is now being covered over, and we are thankful to see that the rise on the Esplanade will not be very great. All the boats, &c., have also been removed from the inside of the Victoria Docks, and a barrier placed across the mouth. Men are engaged at low tide making a wall, so that in a few days the dock will be dry. The large hole too which was near the Victoria Docks has been filled in completely. The new cutting through Sir John Lees’ and Miss Milligan’s property is being rapidly pushed forward, and the contractor seems to have every appliance necessary to carry out the work expeditiously and effectively. We must do the men employed on the new work the justice to say that they seem on the whole a quiet and orderly set, and we have not heard much complaint against them.

Works to reinforce the Tunnel Ryde Esplanade
Works to reinforce the Tunnel Ryde Esplanade

In 2006, the Railway Tunnel was exposed for the first time since 1878, to raise the floor level and to reinforce the walls and roof. The walls of 1878 are clearly visible. Sir John Lees’ property, Beachlands and its gardens, occupied the area where the half-timbered houses are on the left of the photograph.

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