Dating back to the 1780s
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.
The Tunnel House was badly damaged by fire of January 17th 1952. The ‘Standard’ reported on Saturday 26th 1952: A second outbreak of fire at Tunnel House Inn early last Friday morning approximately 24 hours after firemen had been first called to the scene, completely destroyed the building, leaving only the bare walls standing.
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.