The world is full of mysteries. While we’re living our life from day to day, a lot of others events are taking place simultaneously, in other places, around us or even beneath us. It’s impossible to be aware of all the other things that are happening, but sometimes, in a moment of reflection, it can be quite intriguing. And then there’s the fact that as humans, we’re all but omniscient. There are so many things we still don’t know anything about, so many mysteries left to be discovered.
When we’re talking about the underground, there’s often a bit of mystery involved. Throughout history, a lot of tales have been written about possible hidden worlds, about creatures living right beneath our feet. And even though we’re not sure whether or not there really are hidden worlds to be discovered, there certainly are secrets to be unearthed. Secrets from the past, from a hundred years ago or 10.000 years earlier. And today, we’d like to dive into the Victorian era.
The Sheaf and the Don
In a British town called Sheffield, the rivers Sheaf and Don coalesce. It’s the Sheaf which gave its name to the city, yet it’s the same river which has been hidden for nearly two centuries now. Since the Victorian era, aka the middle of the nineteenth century, tunnels have been hiding the river from the human eye in order for Sheffield to be able to fully expand itself.
Until now, very few people were able to visit those underground tunnels and chambers. Only a couple of city workers and urban explorers found their way downtown (literally) and for an ordinary human, the existence of that underground network could be easily forgotten. Until now, because since this summer, the tunnels have been revealing their secrets to the public.
The tunnel opening is part of the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, which explains the presence of a pop-up screen giving visitors an audio-visual experience meters beneath the surface. The tunnels are all made out of brick, giving us an insight into the enormous amount of work that went into the construction of this underground network. Still, chances are, they won’t be around for much longer. The Castlegate area, where the River Sheaf flows into the River Don, is fairly certain to soon undergo a redevelopment. The remains of Sheffield Castle will be dug out and the river will be able to flow freely in what will probably be called Sheaf Field. Beautiful plans for the future. But that also means that if you want to see the tunnels for yourself, you better be quick!