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HER Number:MDV120671
Name:Clerk or Sheepshead Tunnel, Dawlish

Summary

Clerk Tunnel is one of several tunnels between Dawlish and Teignmouth constructed for the South Devon Railway in 1846. New east and west portals were built when the track was widened in 1902-5. Named as Sheepshead Tunnel on historic and modern Ordnance Survey maps, the name Clerks derives from the nearby natural rock formations, 'The Parson and Clerk'.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 960 755
Map Sheet:SX97NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDawlish
DistrictTeignbridge

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RAILWAY TUNNEL (Built, XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Sheepshead Tunnel marked, on the Great Western Railway.


Garnsworthy, P., 2013, Brunel's Atmostpheric Railway, 50-51 (Monograph). SDV360708.

Clerk Tunnel marked on William Dawson's water colour (No 12) of the route plan between Kennaway and Parson Tunnels.


Historic England, 2018, Clerk East and West Tunnel Portals (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361203.

Notification that following a recommendation from Historic England, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has decided not to list the Clerk East and West Tunnel Portals but is minded to issue a Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COI).
Clerk Tunnel is among five tunnels on the line between Teignmouth and Dawlish, part of the West Devon Railway, designed by IK Brunel and opened in 1846, but altered between 1884 and 1905 due to the failure of his Atmospheric Railway. The portals to Clerk Tunnel were rebuilt as part of the widening works.
The portals to Clerk Tunnel are not shown on [William Dawson’s] 1840s illustrations and were complete rebuilds of the 1902-5 works to widen the railway. Therefore they have little historic interest in terms of association with Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway. Architecturally, they are plain designs constructed with standard materials with no specific features that mark them as representative of this railway line. The low springing point of the arches on the seaward side does not complement the visual appearance of the portals as a whole and is likely to be the result of the requirement to accommodate a wider railway track within an earlier tunnel. To merit listing, railway tunnel portals would usually require a better-realised architectural treatment and be of earlier date. Many better examples survive elsewhere including the portals to Saltford Tunnel, Bath and North East Somerset (1836-40, Grade II). Furthermore, there are no other listed buildings nearby with which the portals may have formed a group.
The Clerk Tunnel East and West Portals are relatively late in terms of listing and with no other design or historic interest, or group value, they do not meet the criteria and cannot be recommended for listing.
CONCLUSION
After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing are not fulfilled. A COI should therefore be issued.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
Clerk Tunnel East and West Portals are not recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest
* the structures are of little design interest and relatively late in date.
Historic interest
* they belong to a much later phase of works than Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway of the 1840s and have no other claims to historic interest.
Group value
* they do not form a group with any listed structures.
See report for full details.


Historic England, 2018, Clerk East and West Tunnel Portals (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361220.

Confirmation that the tunnel portals have been issued with a Certificate of Immunity from listing for five years.


Historic England, 2018, East and West Portals, Clerk Tunnel, Dawlish, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360821.

Notification that Historic England have completed a report on the tunnel portals in order to assess whether they have special architectural or historic interest.
History
The Plymouth, Devonport and Exeter Railway Company was formed in 1840 to establish a railway line between Exeter and Plymouth. In 1843 the name was changed to the South Devon Railway and Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed as engineer. In 1844 the South Devon Railway Act was passed, authorising the construction of a single-track, broad-gauge line.
The proposed route included a stretch along the coastline between Dawlish and Teignmouth, between the sea and sandstone cliffs, which required a series of tunnels to be cut through the protruding headland. The line had to negotiate several steep climbs and changes in gradient and Brunel’s plan to deal with this landscape was to adopt an experimental system of atmospheric propulsion. Known as the Atmospheric Railway, it was developed by Samuel Clegg and Jacob and Joseph Samuda on the Dalkey Railway in Ireland in 1844. It used a combination of partial vacuum and atmospheric pressure. Instead of a traditional locomotive engine, stationary engines were placed in pumping stations along the line, extracting air from vacuum pipes laid in the middle of the track. Brunel first used the system in 1844 on a five-mile stretch of the London to Croydon Railway. Despite criticism of the system from
various contemporary engineers he also recommended it for the South Devon Railway. The first section of the line opened in May 1846; however, the atmospheric vacuum pipes had not been completed, and initially, a steam locomotive was used. The first atmospheric train ran in 1847; although only between Exeter and Teignmouth. Ultimately the railway suffered from defects, including the deterioration of the leather seals on the vacuum pipes. In 1848 the atmospheric system was abandoned and the line was converted to conventional steam locomotion.
In 1876 South Devon amalgamated with the Great Western Railway, and in 1884 the section of track between Teignmouth Old Quay and Smugglers Lane was doubled. In 1892 the line was converted from broad to standard gauge. Between 1902 and 1905 the section between Smugglers Lane and Dawlish Railway Station was also made into a double line.
Clerk Tunnel is one of a series of tunnels created between Dawlish and Teignmouth when the South Devon Railway was opened in 1846. The section of track between Clerk and Parsons Tunnels has a sea wall that was constructed in 1902-05 when the line was widened. As part of these works Clerk Tunnel lined in engineering brick with new East and West portals.
Parsons and Clerk Tunnels are named after nearby natural features, rock stacks on the coastal edge and in the sea known as The Parson and Clerk, which are marked on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1889. Historically, Clerk Tunnel was known as Sheepshead Tunnel,as marked on mapping up to 1933.
Details: East portal
A railway tunnel portal of 1902-5, constructed by the Great Western Railway.
MATERIAL: constructed of engineering brick.
DESCRIPTION: a tunnel portal facing north with a flat segmental arch and return wingwall to the east. The seaward (east) side of the arch is sprung from a lower point than at the landward side. The parapet is stepped and has a simple cornice and coping.
Details: West Portal
A railway tunnel portal of 1902-5, constructed by the Great Western Railway.
MATERIAL: constructed of engineering brick.
DESCRIPTION: a tunnel portal facing south with a flat segmental arch and return wingwall to the east. The seaward (east) side of the arch is sprung from a lower point than at the landward side. The parapet is stepped and has a simple cornice and coping.


Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Marked as Sheepshead Tunnel.


Historic England, 2018, Parsons Tunnel to Kennaway Tunnel (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360677.

Notification of application for a Certificate of Immunity for structures and features on the railway line from Parsons Tunnel to Kennaway Tunnel, including sea walls, breakwaters and tunnel portals.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #79913 ]
SDV360677List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Parsons Tunnel to Kennaway Tunnel. Notification of Application for a Certificate of Immunity. Digital.
SDV360708Monograph: Garnsworthy, P.. 2013. Brunel's Atmostpheric Railway. Brunel's Atmostpheric Railway. Paperback Volume. 50-51.
SDV360821List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. East and West Portals, Clerk Tunnel, Dawlish, Devon. Notification of Completion of Assessment.
SDV361203List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Clerk East and West Tunnel Portals. Notification of Intention to Grant a Certificate of Immunity. Digital.
SDV361220List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Clerk East and West Tunnel Portals. Notification of Certificate of Immunity. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:May 3 2018 3:53PM