Thirty-six miners stood in individual cells inside the Tunnelling Shield. They faced a wall of wooden planks held in place by iron rods and butted up against the soil. Each miner would remove one plank at a time and dig away the soil to a depth of four inches. Then, replacing that plank he would remove the next and start digging again. Once the miners each completed their section of the wall, that part of the Shield could be moved forward (independent of the rest of the shield) by screw jacks. It was painstakingly slow and unpleasant work due to terrible air quality and ingression of filthy Thames water.
Thankfully, we are not asking you to risk your health to maintain this historic site. However, we really could do with your help. Please donate here to help the Museum’s COVID-19 crisis appeal – this crisis has destroyed the revenue we rely on. Please share our appeal far and wide, we really do need whatever help we can get.