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Underground (Miscellaneous: Tunnels, Roads, Bunkers Etc.)


Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 28, 2001
The Queen's Secret Underground Road System

Friends and I were talking about the royal family attending football matches at Wembly Statium. Not only did we decide it was unfair that the polo loving Windsors get the best seats in the house, but that also they are never seen leaving or entering certain venues in their big, posh cars.

My uncle insists that Wembly Stadium has an underground road leading to it which is used by the Queen and other Royal persons.

It's not everyday that you see Her Majesty out in the car, but I'm sure I see her on SevenSisters Road in N. London once. I suppose that even if she did have underground access roads they would only be for certain journies.

Do the royals have secret, secure, underground road ways or am I just easily lead?
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There is a legend that Holyrood palace is linked to Edinburgh castle by an underground passage that goes under the royal mile. No one has ever found it but there is a story of a piper who did find it and played his pipes so people could hear him up above on the royal mile. He never came back and his piping can still be heard......
mwah hah ah
There is also a tunnel that leads from the Science Museum in South Kensington to Hyde Park. Apparently, Churchill's bunker during the war was under the museum. I'm not sure why the tunnel lead to Hyde Park. The people I know who went down there said that when you reach a certain point, under Hyde Park, there is a MoD sign that warns you that you may be shot if you go past the sign. I'm not sure about the shooting, but I'm pretty certain that there is a tunnel as I used to work in the Science Museum gift shop and I met a few people who'd been down there. Our stockroom was also part of Churchill's underground bunker.
I read somewhere that when the Victoria Line was built in the 1960's it was routed directly under Buckingham Palace to provide the Queen with an emergency escape route.
The Victoria line definatly runs under my office; I feel the rumbles every few minutes. My office is close to Buckingham Palace.
London has a massive number of underground complexes and
tunnels, many of them intended as the seat of Government in the
event of a nuclear war. Officially they did not exist but the whistle
was blown in the nineteen eighties when the radical journalist
Duncan Campbell found a way into the labyrinth and left a small
Christmas tree as an offering to the moles who had shown him the

The adventure was recounted in the New Statesman magazine and
a map of the facilities was offered as a special offer to raise money
for a charity.

Many other towns and cities had their underground bunkers in those
jolly days of Mutual Assured Destruction. The Subterranea Britannia
websites have a fullish listing for those with anorak tendencies. Some
can be visited by appointment. I gather that Manchester has a massive
hospital complex deep underground. There are pictures online somewhere.
The story about the Victoria Line tube being the Queen's 'rat run', reminds me of a time in the late 1960's or early 1970's, when all the trees each side of the Broad Walk in Kensington Gardens were cut down.

It was claimed at the time, that this was due to them being infected with Dutch Elm Disease, but they were still healthy when they were chopped.

Later, it was suggested that in "times of trouble", Queenie & "key" members of government could be airlifted out of the center of town, just ahead of a nuclear strike!!!
A cold war relic on similar lines is the little known fact that the UK has a national fuel grid, supplying the nations airbases.
Hello all, I was interested in the underground facilities in London from way back and have found a book which has lots of interesting background to the underground construction projects ( not just for the tube but sewers, foot tunnels, air conditioning etc ) and has lots of illustrations.

The book is still in print and I have seen it on Amazon:

I have no connection with the book or the website btw, just enjoyed it as an interesting reference work.

I'll have a look this weekend to see if there are any references to the things discussed here and will post the answers here.


Uncle Bulgaria
I've just remembered another Royal Escape Route story although this was fiction (but who knows:) ). I can't remember the title or author as I read it years ago, and anyway this snippet is all that I remember.

In this story terrorists break into Buck House and take the Queen Hostage. One of the terrorists goes into the royal bathroom, he's looking around and sees a bathroom cabinet. He wonders what the Queen keeps in it so he has a look and inside theres this little button. He pushes the button and the floor of the bathroom opens up and he falls down a slide into an underground chamber and into the hands of the guardsmen, who are waithing for the queen to escape by this route.
Wasn't there a letter in FT quite a while ago from someone claiming that either himself or a relative had been exploring some tunnels under Manchester, which were extensive, almost like underground streets, when he was scared off by a man in a strange military uniform?

Sounded quite spooky to read, but I'm not so sure.

Fascinating subject this, and I'd love to find out more. Being the home of the navy, I bet there are all sorts of things under Portsmouth, and especially Portsdown Hill, where alongside Palmerston's forts there are many more recent MOD buildings. Anbody got any links or info? Thanks James, for Subterranea Britannia - it had one underground WWII radar installation not too far from where I grew up, which I can remember from my youth as a load of derelict old bunkers that I was always too scared to explore!
When I worked in Stockport some years back, I used to see
parties of schoolkids being escorted into a door in the hillside
opposite the old Co-op. I had assumed it was the Pied Piper
until I learned of the shelters. Never saw them come out though.

Thanks for the reminder of the Disused Stations site, one of the
creepiest sites on the web for me. Just looking at the pictures
makes me feel very uneasy. Something very Freudian in being
swallowed by Mother Earth. I have vivid memories of the
terror the Mersey Tunnel inspired on car journies as a kid. The
emergence into daylight was always a relief! :eek:
There are extensive Stone mines at Box, near Bath, (from which, erm, Bath Stone is, erm again, mined). I used to be part of a Caving club which surveyed these, and there are a few areas where they have been integrated with the MOD complex on the surface - these bits are barbed-wired off, and guarded by cameras, and I have memories of seeing old stone mines turning into pristine white-tiled corridors, but I think my mind may be playing tricks on me here. Local lore has it that if you take any pictures of these sensitive areas, some nice chaps from the MOD will be waiting for you and your film when you emerge from the Mines.

I also recently found out that my parents house has a disused railway tunnel underneath it, blocked off at both ends. It's a strangely fascinating subject.


This subject intrigues me. I can imagine "mole people" living their lives underground in order to keep secret machines running below the cities of England. I read the letter in FT about the tunnels in Manchester (underneath a theatre?)... the guy just went for a walk through this closed off area of the building and ended up down in this complex. It reminds me very much of the workers' city in Metropolis.

Remember this though: If world leaders are to be taken to an underground base (and we know that such bunkers exist) in a disaster, then it will need to be fully staffed when they arrive. Also, they'd need to be inhabitable for a while. Would it be any surprise if very large complexes with populations of people existed?

Also, remember that you only legally own a few feet below the foundations of your house. Anything could be going on down there...

And on the tube station front - I suppose there's a chance that you can find your way down onto some of the abandoned platforms through some ingenuity... maybe the realms of London's subterranean populations and the sewer pigs?
Two things to say.

A friend of mine was studying at Imperial College when as part of the course they were taken out to Hyde Park to practise with ground radar and magnetometer equipment. They were told to survey - from the surface - the extent of the Hyde Park underground car park and then to confirm their readings in the car park itself. The student were very supprised to find out that the readings indicated the car park was about 3 times bigger than it appeared it should be. Mind you Brian was a joker so I don't know how true it is.

Government sponsored buildings in London are often very much deeper than is supposed. There have been rumours for years about a complete regimental barracks under Whitehall and I was told once there was a deep level tunnel running from the Post Office Tower to Elephant and Castle. I do know that the British Museum had at least 1 basement 60 ft down with a sealed door that may have lead deeper.
I do know that the British Museum had at least 1 basement 60 ft down with a sealed door that may have lead deeper.

Are you sure this isn't an entrance to the old British Museum tube station, or at least something related (I don't know much about the station's orientation or the Museum itself, I'm afraid!)
Mr. C I don't think it was the exit to the station - at least officially. That exit to the station was just off Museum Street and this door was under one of the book stacks and so not available to the public. It would be nice to think it was a secure access to the tube line for the evacuation of treasures but was probably just a pump room *sigh*.

(BTW Writing this has reminded me that with the construction of the Museum Great Court the Iron Lbrary will have been dismantled. Sadly missed)
Over the Christmas holiday I went back to visit the village I grew up in and met some old mates. Whilst there, some old childhood stories were laughed about, including some concerning the existence of old tunnels that connected the old burial mound (tumulus?) next to the church, to Pontefract castle several miles distant.
I also recall the rumours of tunnel links that ran under the river Aire between Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds to local "safe" houses for the benefit of the monks.

Anyone got any local tales of tunnels or underground lore?
Drogheda, where I live, is riddled with catacombs dating back to the middle ages. A pub occupies part of one tunnel (the infamous "Cellars", and is currently being renovated to extend further into the tunnel. The pub has no decor save the bar and the seating. The bare walls and floor of the original tunnel are untouched. Legend has it that late one night the ghost of a Cromwellian soldier entered the bar from the perpetually locked door at the end of the pub and walked right through to the other end. I suspect, though that this legend exists to support its punchline, being that perhaps those present had drank too much of the black stuff and smoked too much of the brown stuff! I know of no-one who can claim to have been there that night, which would've been about 30 years ago.
The catacombs are said to be linked by a tunnel to the ruined Mellifont Abbey which lies about six miles north of Drogheda. I am aware of a smaller network of tunnels at a ruined manor house a few miles west of the town, but have never heard of connecting tunnels.
Apart from the Cellars, I have only been in that part of the network which lies beneath the Order of Malta premises in Drogheda. (I hope no-one from the Office of Public Works is tuned in: they don't know its there!!:( ) The supposed haunting of the building seems to emenate from this tunnel, which runs the length of the building, being bricked up either end. A side tunnel is also bricked up a couple of feet in, and leads to the adjacent St. Lawrence's Gate (one of the finest surviving barbicans in Europe, built by my Norman ancestors:) )
The most easily accessible entrance to the catacombs is at the site of the old Grammar School (illegally demolished in the early 90s, it awaits reconstruction as a shopping mall :mad: ). Any of the tales of devil worshippers being happened upon in the catacombs always has the lucky escapee stumbling upon them engaged in a scene of Wheatley-like proportions having entered the network at the old Grammar School. The most lurid account is told by an acquaintance who keeps his source secret, but says that the lucky escapee secretly spied many of the town's leading lights engaged in the summoning of a babylonian deity! Having escaped he now apparently wishes to keep his identity secret in order to protect his very life!
I've always been meaning to go into them tunnels...
Porthoustock Tunnel

The fishing village where I'm from in Cornwall has it's very own smugglers tunnel.

I've never explored it myself, as I'm a bit of a 'wuss' when it comes to enclosed spaces (too much time and scary experiences in caves and mines in my younger days)...

It's said to go from a cave in the cliffs at Porthoustock beach and leads to the outskirts of St Keverne village (a distance of about a mile !), at a place locally referred to as 'Sandy Bank' (close to Parc - an - Grouse farm).

One of my neighbours told me about it - he is nearly eighty now and said that he had explored the tunnel as a boy with his brother.. apparently there has been a rock fall half way along, but it is still possible to get through.
West Cornwall is riddled with old mine workings. Yesterday I was told of a convenient tunnel that leads from a friend's house in Marazion straight up into the celler of a nearby pub :)

It's not at all unusual for buildings to collapse & holes to appear in gardens - this Christmas two houses in a St.Ives terrace were abandoned when they begun to shift, having were built on the top of a huge cavern dug in the 1930's.
I suspect, that there are a lot more mines & tunnels about than most people know about.

About 16 years ago I had a chance to visit a chalk mine in Hertfordshire, unused since WW1 & unknown to any one in the locality. We entered through a well shaft & found a maze of tunnels & chambers up to 30 foot high.

The blokes who rediscovered the place a couple of years before we visited it, found ONE bloke who knew about it...his dad & uncle had been miners there, went off to the Great War & never came back...

Yet, there are any number of chalk pits in the county & I still wonder how many other mines exist in he area.

It seems that it is a diferent & unknown world under the ground!!
Ground Elder said:
West Cornwall is riddled with old mine workings. Yesterday I was told of a convenient tunnel that leads from a friend's house in Marazion straight up into the celler of a nearby pub :)

There is a really funny case of this sort that I remember from about 15 or 16 years ago...

In a village called Lanarth there is a house called 'Touch Me Pipes' (I can hear you saying 'Ooer Missus' as you read... !). No one could think of a reason why the house was called this although there were many local rumours, jibes and lots of 'nudge nudge wink wink' kind of comments... the fact was that it had just always been called 'Touch Me Pipes' and no one could remember why !

....but an explanation was soon to be forthcoming - The owners decided to do some renovations, and during the building work a secret (blocked up) tunnel was discovered beneath the house leading to an underground room. In the room there were two metal pipes leading to the house above, so that the owners of the house could tap on the pipes and give a 'safe to come out' signal to the fugitives hidden below (not sure if they would have been escaping catholics, civil war deserters or smugglers as the house was very old)...

So there were no rude connotations after all !!
There are/were several tunnels under Falmouth, sometimes said to be routes to bring smuggled contraband up into the town. But this is complicated in that there were several natural springs in the hillside, and various engineering works of various dates to channel the water away.
I recall reading about Cornish miners coming up to the Yorkshire Dales to work in the old lead mines around Wharfedale and Nidderdale.
They'd not go down alone, "The Trolls fear numbers, but are wolves on the track of a lonely man", was written after one was found dead in a narrow passage with strange marks on his neck.
"The Knockers" were a well known phenomena indicating the imminent discovery of a rich seam of minerals.
There are even recent accounts of hardened cavers pot-holing in the limestone areas, beating a hasty retreat from un-nerving sounds and feelings of dread!
The presence of "trulli" (a type of gnome) in mines, both male & female, was fully accepted by German miners in the 16th Century. They are discribed as: "venerable looking & are clothed like miners".

Georgius Agricola, who published the first book on mining: De Re Metallica in 1556, wrote about both trulli & also "demons of ferocious aspect" who could only be "expelled & put to flight by prayers & fasting"

In the woodcuts of miners, in Agricola's book, their dress closely resembles that of the modern "garden center" gnome.
Underground Bases in the UK

Does anyone know of any disused wartime shelters or old mines.
I am particly interested in the berkshire are mainly Palmer Park in Reading.
Do any of you know anything about that area or do you know where i can get any infomation.
My father used to be in the RAF police, and he told me stories of guarding an underground base in Kent. It was near Biggin Hill, if memory serves. He said that from the outside it just looked like a shed in the middle of a field but the shed was just the entrance to a large underground complex.