Gamond, Aimé Thomé de

SUBJECT AREA: Civil engineering
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b. 1807
d. 1876
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French civil engineer and early advocate of the Channel Tunnel.
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He became interested in the possibility of a tunnel or a bridge link between England and France in 1833 when he did his own geological survey of a route between Calais and Dover, and in 1834 he proposed an immersed tube tunnel. However, at the Great Exhibition of 1855 he promoted a scheme incorporating an artificial stone isthmus with movable bridges, which was estimated to cost £33,600,000, but this idea was eventuallv abandoned. He reverted to the idea of a tunnel and did further survey in 1855, with 180 lb (80 kg) of flint for ballast, ten inflated pig bladders to bring him to the surface and pieces of buttered lint plastered over his ears to protect them against the water pressure. He touched bottom between 99 and 108 ft (30 and 33 m). In 1856 Napoleon III granted him an audience and promised a scientific commission to evaluate his scheme, which it eventually approved. In 1858 he went to London and got the backing of Robert Stephenson, Isambard K. Brunel and Joseph Locke. He also obtained an interview with Prince Albert. In 1858, after an assassination attempt on Napoleon III, relations between France and England cooled off and Thomé de Gamond's plans were halted. He revived them in 1867, but others were by now also putting forward schemes. He had worked on the scheme for thirty-five years and expended a small fortune. In 1875 The Times reported that he was "living in humble circumstances, his daughter supporting him by giving lessons on the piano". He died the following year.
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Further Reading
T.Whiteside, 1962, The Tunnel under the Channel.
IMcN

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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