Woolwich Foot Tunnel, Greenwich - Built-Up Roofing



The south entrance to the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, which opened in 1912, is a red brick rotunda, featuring a conical roof with a circular lantern, providing access to the 504m long foot tunnel beneath the river Thames.

The Grade II listed entrance building had suffered from vandalism, with the theft – on two occasions - of the copper sheet roofing from the top of the tunnel building being the most damaging. Greenwich Council asked IMA contractor Capital Roofing to inspect the damage and recommend a solution to prevent such thefts from reoccurring.


The roof comprises a circular timber board structure with circular parapet gutter. An inner ring of sloped glazing leads to a timber-framed lantern detail capped by a circular roof with spire. All the original copper sheets and gutter lining had been stolen, and if they were replaced with the same materials they would undoubtedly be stolen again. However, the works needed to be carried out urgently as weather conditions were resulting in water entering the building, and potentially reaching the electrical equipment running the lift to the foot tunnel.


Capital Roofing recommended the use of BMI UK & Ireland’s Thermaweld Copper-faced membrane for both the circular main roof area and to line the parapet gutter, as the product retains the look of the original copper-sheeted roof covering, but is of no value to thieves. As the building is Grade II listed, permission from British Heritage was needed but was granted immediately after Capital Roofing’s specification and recommendations were put forward.

Capital Roofing’s expert installers used the Thermaweld Copper sheets to create a finish similar to the original roof, and used tilt fillets to replace the original cappings. As a result, Greenwich Council was delighted with the final appearance of the building, and also with the speed with which Capital Roofing carried out this difficult project.


Project: Woolwich Foot Tunnel (South Entrance), London
Area: 300 m2.
Completion Date: 2010
IMA Contractor: Capital Roofing Co Ltd, Blackheath
Client: Greenwich Council
System: Thermaweld Copper

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