An English Heritage Commemorative Blue Plaque to commemorate James Henry Greathead (1844-96) was unveiled in Barnes, London, by the great engineer’s grandson, Jim Greathead, on February 18 2000.

As civil engineer Jim Moriarty, averred in his speech preceding the unveiling, J H Greathead engineered the first deep level tunnels on the Underground – the City and South London Railway – which was opened to traffic in 1890. Work began early in 1886 using shields and bolted segmental cast iron linings, with compressed air applied in waterbearing strata. Greathead’s great strength was his ability and his perseverance in translating ideas and concepts into working engineering systems. He is best known in this regard for the successful system of shield tunnelling he developed, known in his lifetime and by posterity as the Greathead shield.