Tunnels by the Midland Railway embankment west of the Ocean railway bridge

What are these?

For some time we believed that they were built to house sewage pipes down to the sewage works past Beard’s Mill. See theory below.

However new evidence has come to light that they may have been remains of a brick built drain put in at the time of the building of the railway embankment to take water away from the main road and down to the River Frome. We need to look at the canal company records as soon as we can access them to find out more.

Path down to the River Frome showing the entrance to one of the tunnels.

Brick tunnel by the railway embankment

Concrete entrance to tunnel by the embankment

Sewage pipe tunnels?

Some time ago, Stonehouse History Group asked for information about the “tunnels” to the left of the canal towpath – just beyond the embankment on the Bond’s Mill side. A local man, Mr Davies, recalled that his father told him they were built to carry sewage pipes on their way to the sewage works (to the south of Beard’s Mill). The pipes were to have passed under the embankment. Mr Davies said his father told him that the tunnels had been built around the time of the First World War. We thought that the 1914 landslip stopped the sewage company from digging under the embankment near the river culvert, in case it caused another landslip. As far as we know, the tunnels were never used, although lots of people remember playing in them when they were children.

The sewerage pipes were put above ground, down the other side of the railway and under the embankment beyond the viaduct. These large black pipes were visible until a few years ago, when they were buried under the adjacent field.  

Photo by Richard White shows the sewerage pipe alongside Midland railway embankment


Photo by Jim Dickson showing the old bed of the River Frome in the field opposite the viaduct, also shows the old sewerage pipe running along the embankment.