Thursday, February 25, 2016

secret parliament tunnels

Canberra, the capital city of my home country Australia, has a reputation for orderly design. This is not only in the carefully orchestrated public spaces and streets above ground, but below ground too. Recently, the curious ABC Canberra reporters Sonya Gee and Matthew Arnaudon went searching for Canberra's secret underground spaces and found traces of the old parliamentary pneumatic tubes.

The tubes connected Parliament House and Defence, as a safe and secure way to transport important documents. The curious reporters travel into the underground tunnels where the tubes lie and receive a demonstration of how the tubes worked. You can read more about the canberra tubes and their museum displays in my previous posts, here and here.

Many thanks to the Canberra-based comic illustrator Stuart McMillen for sending me details of this ABC report!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

above above ground

Plans are afoot for even more pneumatic tubes in New York City, already home to the Roosevelt Island tubes and the Hudson Yards developments, as well as many others in the world of fiction and cinema. This time it is the High Line which might be tubed for waste disposal, quoted in The Atlantic's CityLab as perfect for such infrastructure considering that "the tube could be strung along the bottom of the viaduct, avoiding any need to tunnel through streets".

Image of the High Line used under Creative Commons lisence from David Berkowitz's Flikr page.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

cash slips and mugs of tea

Wonderful video below by Mike Taylor of the Lamson Pneumatic Tube System at Jacksons of Reading, documenting the cash exchange system of the department store which amazingly operated until 2013 when the store closed. Great sounds, scenes of cash being exchanged amongst mugs of tea and stacks of paper. At the end of the film you learn about Robin Adcroft and Thomas Macey's plans to re-enact this system which they had worked with for years at the store and later bought at auction.

Thanks very much to Mike Olivier for sending me this video!