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Marc Brunel & the Thames Tunnel

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Marc Brunel built the first tunnel under a river in the history of the world. Let me repeat that.

Marc Brunel built the first tunnel under a river in the history of the world. Ever. Impressive, no? (Well I think so, and so should you!)

They say the Assyrians dug an underwater tunnel in Babylon, but the Assyrians moved the River Euphrates out of the way, dug their tunnel, and then returned the river to its original course so that the tunnel ran underneath it.

It's odd to say Marc Brunel 'built' the tunnel; maybe I should say he 'dug' the tunnel. But many men had tried to dig a tunnel under the River Thames, and exactly for that reason, they had failed.

You see, the soil underneath the River Thames (or any river) is very soft. When you dig a hole underneath a river, the water creeps in and collapses it. If you've ever dug a hole in the sand at a beach, you'll know what I mean. The waves come along, and it's 'good-bye' hole. Just a bunch of soggy …