Saturday, 21 October 2017

Hidden Henley

DOES any reader know of a public footpath which passes through a tunnel? Well, there’s one in Medmenham.

DOES any reader know of a public footpath which passes through a tunnel? Well, there’s one in Medmenham.

At the turn of the 19th century, Wittington House was owned by Hudson Ewbanke Kearley, later to become Lord Devonport, who had made a fortune out of importing tea.

He bought an adjoining riverside strip of land to annoy his next door neighbour at Danesfield House, Robert Hudson, who had inherited his fortune from his family’s Sunlight soaps, by denying him access to the Thames.

Then he decided he disliked the public footpath adjoining his garden so had a 150m tunnel built to take walkers underground in order to maintain his privacy.

The tunnel is still in use today and, as my picture shows, there are two sections of glass in the ceiling to allow a little daylight to penetrate.



Wittington House is now the offices of software company SAS and does sometimes hold open days while Danesfield House is, of course, a rather nice hotel.



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