The Redriff Tunnel
The construction of the Redriff tunnel must have been a hellish affair. One contemporary account notes notes that workers entered the tunnel via a lift – an iron cage, tumbling down a dark hole at an ever increasing speed, before going on to describe arriving thus: “It seems hours, but it is really only a few seconds, and you step out of the lift into a new world, a world full of more eerie men with clay wigs, pale faced, and almost naked” – for the atmosphere under the river was extremely hot and very close.
The tunnel is made of cast iron, shod in concrete, and is notably for being the only one of London’s pedestrian tunnels without emergency exits available – they were closed in the 1980s as “unsafe”. Local kids dare one another to try and climb them, and while there’s no official record of any deaths, all the kids on the estate claim to know someone whose cousin vanished without trace while exploring the stairs.
Dr Salter’s Dream
Dr Alfred Salter and his wife Ada were prominent local figures in the early part of the 20th century – he first as a physician treating the poor of the area for sums they could afford, and latterly as a Labour MP, her as a Labour councillor and the first woman mayor of a London council. The couple tragically lost their daughter (also named Ada) to scarlet fever at the age of eight. Statues to Alfred and his daughter were erected in 1991, but the statue of Alfred was stolen in 2011, and Ada was removed to prevent similar happening to her. Following a campaign by local residents, the statue of Ada was instated in 2014, and following fundraising new statues of both her parents and the family’s famously unusual pet – an owl – were added to keep the child company.
In 2017, two corpses were found near the statues, in a mutilated state. Local gossip says they were a pair of thieves who were attempting to repeat the feat, but the exact circumstances of the murder have never been solved.