The final two Tunnel Boring Machines on the Tideway project have been blessed signalling that they will soon be ready to begin digging the final stretches of the super sewer.
TBM Annie at Greenwich Pumping Station and Selina at Chambers Wharf were visited by local clergy who blessed the machines, the workforce, and a statue of Saint Barbara.
It is traditional on tunnelling jobs to place a statue of Santa Barbara, the patron saint of those working underground, by the entrance to protect the tunnellers.
Father Kevin Robinson from Our Ladye Star of the Sea Church was escorted onto the Greenwich site by the tunnel project manager Rob Smith. After a brief tour, a small number of people were lowered down the shaft to conduct the blessing.
In a short ceremony, the statue of Saint Barbara was blessed to watch over and protect all those who will work in or on the Greenwich Connection Tunnel. Turning his attention to TBM Annie (named after Annie Russell Maunder - a pioneering astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, close by Fr Kevin's church) he blessed her for a speedy journey to Chambers Wharf and for her work to keep the Thames and city of London clean for all to enjoy.
Coming out of the shaft, Fr. Kevin also took the opportunity for a special blessing of the penstock chamber, which forms part of the Pumping Station site and which has over two centuries of service.
Meanwhile, at Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey, the Revd Canon Michael Rawson returned after his visit in March for a ceremony to bless Tunnel Boring Machine Selina – named after Dr. Selina Fox who founded the Bermondsey Medical Mission - ahead of the next stage of construction: tunnelling to Abbey Mills.