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Williamson Tunnels are a labyrinth of tunnels and underground caverns under the Edge Hill district. They were commissioned by eccentric philanthropist Joseph Williamson in the early 1800s.
According to the Friends of the Williamson Tunnels, "the purpose of the construction is not known with any certainty. Theories range from pure philanthropy, offering work to the unemployed of the district, to religious extremism, the tunnels being an underground haven from a predicted Armageddon."
Many of the tunnels still exist today and one small section has been renovated and is possible to visit. Through the Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre, you can get a 45 minute guided tour through the only section of the network open and safe for the public. There is a small gallery of artifacts and historical items found in the tunnels. Tours are available 10:30am-4pm Thursday through Sunday.
About Joseph Williamson
Also called The Mole of Edge Hill, The Mad Mole and The King of Edge Hill. Williamson made his fortune as a tobacco merchant. All agree he was eccentric. Some people say he was a generous man employing those in the poorest part of the city. Others say he was a smuggler or a slave trader and the tunnels were built in service of that business and never finished.