Thames Archway Company

The Thames Archway Company was formed in 1805 with the intention of constructing a tunnel - known as the Thames Drift Tunnel - to run beneath the River Thames. Robert Vazie, a Cornish engineer, was selected by the Thames Archway Co to drive a tunnel under the River Thames at Rotherhithe. Vazie encountered serious problems with water influx and got no further than sinking the end shafts when the directors called in Trevithick for consultation. The directors agreed to pay Trevithick £1,000 if he could successfully complete the tunnel, a length of 1,220feet.

Richard Trevithick, appointed in 1807 to supervise the initial stages, started digging a pilot tunnel or driftaway. The traditional method of shoring up the tunnel sides and roof with timber proved unsuccessful in these difficult conditions and after a series of floods, the pilot was abandoned just 200ft short of its target.

The Thames Archway Company was dissolved in 1809.