|Location Map ( geo)|
The Harbour Tunnel or Finnieston Tunnel was a complex of vehicular and pedestrian tunnels in western Glasgow passing under the River Clyde near the present-day Clyde Arc bridge. They ran from Tunnel Street north of the Clyde to Plantation Place on the southern side, carrying vehicles from 1896 to 1943.
The idea for the crossing arose out of a mania for tunnelling in the late 19th century that also led to Glasgow's Subway. Parliamentary approval for a tunnel under the Clyde was given in 1889, with plans for three tunnels, each 16 ft (5 m) wide. The central one would be for pedestrians, and the two outer ones for horse-drawn vehicles. Vehicles were lowered 80 ft (24 m) into the tunnel via hydraulic gear in a rotunda at either end, while lifts allowed pedestrian access. This equipment was bought from Otis Elevator Company in New York, and building started in 1890.
The tunnels were privately built, but after their completion in 1896 they proved less profitable than hoped (and rather leaky). The Council began to provide financial support in 1915, taking them over in 1926. Shortly after, plans were formulated to replace the tunnels with a bridge at Finnieston, but it was not built - presumably the Great Depression and war intervened.
The road tunnels were closed in 1943 and the lifting gear removed for the war effort. The pedestrian tunnel lasted longer, until it too was permanently shut in 1980. The vehicle tunnels were filled in around 1986 but the passenger tunnel apparently remains: it may be used by Scottish Water for a water main.
The north and south rotundas, which provided access for both vehicles and pedestrians, are still visible as distinctive circular brick buildings on either side of the Clyde. Since the tunnel closure they have had a variety of uses, from museum to ice cream parlour. The northern rotunda is currently a restaurant, while the southern is classed as at risk.