Unveiling the Majestic Queensway Tunnel: A Subterranean Triumph of Engineering and Art Deco Splendour in Liverpool

Beneath the bustling streets and the mighty River Mersey lies Liverpool’s hidden gem – the Queensway Tunnel. This awe-inspiring engineering marvel, connecting the city with the Wirral peninsula, is not only a triumph of infrastructure but also a testament to the resplendent elegance of Art Deco design. Within its depths, the mesmerising lamp pillars, once radiant with light and adorned with captivating decorations by artist Edmund Thompson, add a touch of allure and artistry to the subterranean expanse. Join us as we delve into the history, architectural brilliance, and artistic splendour of the Queensway Tunnel, where engineering feats intertwine with the legacy of Herbert James Rowse’s architectural masterpieces.

A Triumph of Engineering:

Unveiled to the public in 1934, the Queensway Tunnel, affectionately known as the Birkenhead Tunnel, transformed transportation between Liverpool and the Wirral peninsula. The brainchild of celebrated engineer Sir Basil Mott, this 3.24 kilometre (2.01-mile) feat of engineering conquered the formidable River Mersey, overcoming complex challenges posed by shifting sands and formidable depths.

Art Deco Lamp Pillars, a Captivating Legacy:

In its heyday, the Queensway Tunnel boasted enchanting Art Deco lamp pillars that graced its subterranean thoroughfare. These elegant features, adorned with the intricate artistic visions of Edmund Thompson, added a touch of ethereal beauty to the passageway. Thompson’s designs, inspired by marine life and intertwined with geometric patterns, showcased his exceptional craftsmanship and artistic vision.

A Preserved Architectural Heritage:

While the lamp pillars are no longer in use, their legacy remains etched within the history of the Queensway Tunnel. Efforts have been made to preserve and restore these captivating Art Deco decorations, ensuring that Thompson’s exquisite designs continue to captivate visitors and honour his contributions to Liverpool’s architectural heritage.

The Architectural Brilliance of Herbert James Rowse:

In addition to the artistic allure within the tunnel, the entrances, toll booths, and the exterior of the ventilation building were masterfully designed by the eminent architect Herbert James Rowse. His architectural brilliance harmoniously blended functionality with aesthetic appeal, elevating the Queensway Tunnel’s visual impact to new heights. Rowse’s designs, characteristic of his distinctive style, added a sense of grandeur and finesse to the tunnel’s exterior features.

A Subterranean Symphony:

As commuters traverse the depths of the Queensway Tunnel, they bear witness to a subterranean symphony of engineering marvels, artistic remnants, and architectural brilliance. While the lamp pillars may no longer radiate light, their beauty endures, serving as a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and the artistic visions that enriched Liverpool’s underground world. The Queensway Tunnel stands as a proud testament to the city’s rich history, seamlessly blending the artistry of Edmund Thompson, the architectural legacy of Herbert James Rowse, and the engineering triumph of Sir Basil Mott.


Liverpool’s Queensway Tunnel is not merely a passageway, but a journey through time, where engineering prowess, artistic beauty, and architectural brilliance unite. As visitors traverse beneath the River Mersey, they are enveloped in a world that honors the city’s history, embraces the elegance of Art Deco design, and celebrates the visionary architectural contributions of Herbert James Rowse. Discover the enchanting secrets hidden within the depths of the Queensway Tunnel and relish the harmonious convergence of engineering triumphs, artistic legacies, and architectural wonders beneath Liverpool’s vibrant streets.