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Building of Saltdean Tunnel 1933

The building of Saltdean Tunnel commenced on March 27th 1933.

My Dad, Stan Smith, was one of the builders working on the project.

He is the one sitting down on the far right at the end, with a cigarette in his hand. Can you recognise any of your relatives here? Leave a comment below if you can.

Click on the photograph to open a large version in a new window.

Saltdean Tunnel 1933
From the private collection of Joy Panteli (nee Smith)

Comments about this page

  • That’s great info, thanks, I often wondered about that tunnel and when it was built!

    By Peter Groves (26/06/2011)
  • The Saltdean tunnel was built during 1933 and was to form part of the newly constructed undercliff walk/ sea defence. Around the same time the A259 coast road was improved and widened between Roedean and Telscombe Tye. The tunnel was built to provide a covered pedestrian walkway under the road and is barely 40 metres in length. Most of the tunnel is brick lined as the photo shows. However, the seaward end beneath the White Cliffs cafe is built in concrete – this section looks very much like an add on? The very famous Saltdean Lido overlooks the tunnels north portal, the Art Deco brickwork still looks good to this day! The most probable method of constructing the tunnel – is known as cut and shut, however, in this case it is debatable, as the tunnel was formed during the process of creating the man made embankment that would eventually carry the A259 across the Saltdean Gap. Over time this very ordinary tunnel, has endured nearly 80 years of south westerly gales and salt spray washing through it, not to mention the ceaseless heavy traffic above. Despite, all that and little or no maintenance carried out, the brick lining shows no sign of cracking. Great credit must go to all those chaps in the photo. Their skills, ingenuity and the materials used to construct the tunnel have without doubt stood the test of time.

    By Christopher Wrapson (29/06/2011)

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