The Official History of Britain and the Channel Tunnel: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Official History of Britain and the Channel Tunnel

1st Edition

By Terry Gourvish


544 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138873452
pub: 2015-09-22
Hardback: 9780415391832
pub: 2006-06-30
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203969496
pub: 2006-09-27
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Commissioned by the Cabinet Office and using hitherto untapped British Government records, this book presents an in-depth analysis of the successful project of 1986-94.

This is a vivid portrayal of the complexities of quadripartite decision-making (two countries, plus the public and private sectors), revealing new insights into the role of the British and French Governments in the process. This important book, written by Britain’s leading transport historian, will be essential reading for all those interested in PPPs, British and European economic history and international relations.

The building of the Channel Tunnel has been one of Europe’s major projects and a testimony to British-French and public-private sector collaboration. However, Eurotunnel’s current financial crisis provides a sobering backcloth for an examination of the British Government’s long-term flirtation with the project, and, in particular, the earlier Tunnel project in the 1960s and early 1970s, which was abandoned by the British Government in 1975.


'The work is scholary and well-referenced. It opens the reader's eyes to the complexity of planning, negotiating and implementing a truly major project that has changed our whole relationship with the Continent.' -

'As the President of the Swiss Federal Railways said on a visit to the tunnel in 1997.' This is the work of the century.' Mr Gourvish has done us proud with his account.' - Journal of the Railway and Canal Historical Society

'In his account of that most recent 40-year phase, Terry Gourvish has successfully blended treatment of the technical and political issues with close attention to the economic problems. Meanwhile, an amusing selection of newspaper cartoons injects welcome attention to the popular hopes and fears aroused by the tunnel. This combination makes for such a thorough account of the British side of debates that it is hard to imagine there is much else to be said about the project on this side of the channel.' - Economic History Society 2007, Economic History Review, 60, 1 (2007)

Table of Contents

1. Beginnings, 1802-1945 2. New Aspirations: The Channel Tunnel Project, 1945-64 3. Another False Start: The Wilson Governments and the Tunnel, 1964-70 4. The Heath Government and the Tunnel: Reaching Agreement, 1970-2 5. The Heath Government and the Tunnel: Taking the Project Forward, 1972-4 6. Abandonment, 1974-5 7. Keeping Hopes Alive, 1975-81 8. The Thatcher Governments and the Tunnel: From Hope to Eternity, 1981-4 9. The Thatcher Governments and the Tunnel: Choosing a Promoter, 1984-6 10. Eurotunnel: Finance and Construction, 1986-90 11. From Tunnel to Transport Facility, 1988-94 12. The Channel Tunnel: Postscript, 1994-2005

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy