History of the Inn

Sapperton Tunnel on the Thames

History of the Tunnel House

The Tunnel House Is a classic Gloucestershire Cotswold Traditional Inn. It was originally built as The New Inn in the 1780’s for the navvies working on the two mile long Sapperton tunnel on the Thames and Severn canal.

When the canal was operational the tunnel had to be negotiated by ‘legging’, a slow laborious and physically demanding process, which necessitated the consumption of several pints beer by the ‘leggers’ as means of compensation for the arduous task.

The Tunnel House was badly damaged by fire on January 17th 1952. The fire completely destroyed the building, leaving only the bare walls standing and the pub sign untouched.

history of the tunnel house inn cirencester circa
the sapperton tunnel southern portal

Historic Location

tthi ruler wht

The Southern Portal

The ornate southern portal of the canal tunnel is only a few yards from the Inn. When the canal was operational the tunnel had to be negotiated by ‘legging ‘, a slow laborious and physically demanding process, which necessitated the consumption of several pints of beer by the ‘leggers’ as means of compensation for the arduous task.

There was a huge loss of life during digging of the tunnel in 1788-90. The Inn provided lodgings for the navvies and occasionally The Tunnel House was used as a makeshift mortuary.

the tunnel house inn exterior right pub sign
the tunnel house inn fire plaque
the tunnel house inn exterior front