Underneath the city of London are tunnels that serve as storage basements, subway trains, utility lines, and sewers, like most cities. Then there are the tunnels built for more secretive reasons. This underground system has grown and shrunk, with passageways connected and then separated, and no definitive map exists of them. Still, data from the 2017 Land Registry tells us there are four million kilometers of tunnels under London, most of them built for communications purposes during the Cold War. Bits and pieces of this network are revealed when old government buildings are sold.
The most intriguing revelation was of the Postmaster General’s secret tunnel beneath the heart of the government at 57 Whitehall. It was built to protect machinery and communications from the threat of atom bombs in the Cold War, and the bunker emerges into the basement of the Old War Office, once used by Winston Churchill. In 2014, the Raffles hotel chain bought the 54,000 sq m Grade II-listed building from the Ministry of Defence for £350 million. Named “The OWO”, the London landmark is set to open as one of the world’s highest-profile hotels in 2022.
More than 30 gears and a dozen lifts – stretching from the working-class East End to the heart of Whitehall – connect the Postmaster General’s tunnel to a secret underground network, which mostly emerges unobtrusively into government buildings and telephone exchanges.
That doesn’t mean that you, or the hotel staff, or anyone can follow the tunnels from the now-private properties. But quite a few people are dedicated to exploring the underground system, and even mapping them. Read what we know of these underground tunnels and what we may learn in the future at BBC Travel. -via Damn Interesting
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.