Travel back in time: 3 British Pathe News videos of first Dartford Tunnel being built in 1950s then used in 1963 - when there were NO QUEUES!

A car using the Dartford Tunnel in a British Pathe video dated 1963

A car using the Dartford Tunnel in a British Pathe video dated 1963

First published in News News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , web manager

Grumbles about the queues and tolls are an everyday part of the Dartford Crossing experience for tens of thousands of motorists.

But there was a time half a century ago when travelling across the Thames between Kent and Essex by car or lorry was new and exciting - and when there were no delays!

These fascinating videos from the superb British Pathe archive will take you back to that time, and even beyond to when the crossing was still being built.

This first video dated 1957 shows the construction site on the Dartford side of the river, with VIPs going underground for an inauguration ceremony performed by George Nugent, joint parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport.

The next film from a year later shows men working on the first tunnel, with excavation taking place.

Finally, after some footage from the opening of a new 33-mile stretch of the M6 in Cheshire and Staffordshire, the entrance to the new Dartford Tunnel can be seen in 1963, with various shots of the toll gates and officers who will operate them.

A man in a car pays 2/6d at the toll gate, and then a car travels through the tunnel. Other than the cost, does it look familiar?

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