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The Culverts, also known as the 'Three Arches'


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The Town Clock, dating from 1886, it was originally powered by water from the river that still flows underneath the town.  Take a walk with Keith under Ramsey!...


The 'Three Arches'...

Ramsey in Cambridgeshire is unique in all of England... For it has a river running under the town.  The Clock was originally powered from the river running under it, take a walk with Keith under the clock!...

Before the Fens were drained Ramsey was an island, isolated and safe, ideal for the world famous abbey and centre for education that was once here.

In the 1850s when the London, Kings Cross to Edinburgh railway was built Holme Fen was drained, this resulted in the drop of water in Ramsey and so the 'Arches' were built.   The work started in 1852 and was finished in 1854.

During the construction problems were found with water flow during the winter of 1852.  From the Clock Tower onwards it was decided to continue with three culverts, the main culvert being assisted with two side culverts.  The side culverts also took sewage.

Here are some photos taken under Ramsey.



HDC have asked we place this 'health warning' notice, we agree and recommend the following advice  - mainly, stay out of the culverts!

These culverts are potentially very dangerous, suitable equipment should be worn, including the use of portable gas detectors if venturing any great distance inside.  

We do not recommend people entering, and if so, you must notify responsible people prior to entry.

NEVER enter after rainfall, or when the current is fast flowing.

NEVER enter alone.

Our advice is simple, enjoy the pictures and do not attempt any entry at any time!


After the 'health warning' you can now make a cup of coffee and enjoy the pictures!


  Many of the pictures were taken in the 1970s and 80s.






Below, without flash, its very dark walking under Ramsey!


We are now under the National Westminster Bank, and yes, it has been tried!


Looking back towards the entrance under the Nat. West Bank.  Where the High Street runs over the culvert originally the High Bridge stood.  Stones from the bridge were used in the construction here as was the custom to retain some of the original materials.


We take the cameras down in a wheel barrow, notice the single headlight!



Rust comes out from an old cast iron pipe.




Legend says the missing bricks at the bottom of this bricked up culvert is where thieves tried to rob Barclays, many years ago. They found the work of tunnelling through the masonry too difficult.


Another legend says King Charles 1 met Oliver Cromwell on the High Bridge, that spanned the Great Whyte where the High Street now is. The stones below are said to have been part of the bridge, now incorporated into the main culvert.





Standing under the pavement next to Barclays Bank in the rain!..  Up until the 1850s it was here that the Fish Market was held.  Barrels of salted eels being sent all over the country.   After the fens were drained arable farming became the mainstay of the area.

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 When Ramsey received mains water, the pipes were forced through the culvert untidily, which is one of the problems with photography! 




Below, a culvert bricked up at one time ran from the high Street.



Below, another culvert bricked up.



Calcium has half blocked this old pipe.



 A one time the Little Whyte was a river, and opposite, travelling towards Bury was an open sewer. The picture below is from the Little Whyte looking towards where the open sewer later bricked over is. Both these culverts date back to the 1700s making them very early, when London's rivers and sewers were largely open.


Below is an entrance to the sewer that runs up towards Bury, it is many years since sewerage ran through, it takes rain water today. The following pictures are of this culvert.



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 Below, under where GB Hyde's shop was, looking towards School Lane!





 Below, a very old pipe made of sections.



 More pictures and treasure hunting in this old side culvert dating to the 1700s, and no, nothing was found, honest!!





It get very messy, especially when its raining!


Looking down one of the smaller side culvert towards Nat. West Bank in the two pictures below.

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Above, Keith with his dog, looking back towards the Nat. West Bank, below, one of the pictures taken.



Where the Bus Station is a bus could easily fall through the road and not be seen at the Clock Tower.



The old winding gear that controlled the water flow at the Clock Tower. The Clock was powered by water, one of the few every constructed this way. Today is is electric, being converted in 1920. 



Below, in the centre is Stan Bebe and his son Mick on the left, both in the 1970s were members of Ramsey Fire Service, when this picture was taken.



This small culvert that was the Little Whyte is where the river, now a drain, for rain water comes out at the Clock Tower.



One of the side culverts that come out at the 'basin'.


This is about as far as you can go by 'boat' today...  Before the culverts were built the 'Jolly Sailor' was used by bargemen, as were the 'Ship' and 'Boat' Inns.

Where the present day Post Office stands a foot bridge known as 'Nobles' bridge let people cross from the high side to the Embankment where boats moored at the Jolly Sailor.

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Coming out from under the old mill, into what is known as the 'Basin' or the 'Three Arches'.

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As the mill was in the 1930s


Thomas finds a cover up, more culvert photos... Click here!



Greg Luzteka and friends visit the culverts, for their amazing pictures, visit Silent UK:







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