Thursday, 16 October 2008

Underground London WW2 Tunnels for Sale

by Kathryn Hadley

The Kingsway tunnels, a network of underground tunnels 100 feet (30m) beneath High Holborn, went on sale today, October 17th. The tunnels were built in 1940 as deep air raid shelters designed to hold up to 8,000 people. They were then used by MI6 during the last two years of the Second World War.

In the aftermath of the war, the tunnels were taken over by the Post Office and were converted into a “reserve war room”, a depository for 400 tons of secret documents by the Public Records Office and then into a centre for telephone exchanges between the presidents of the US and the USSR during the Cold War. During the Cold War, 80 workers were employed in the tunnels’ telephone exchange, which was equipped with a canteen and recreation room with a snooker table. The 77,000 square feet area is provided with electricity, a ventilation system and water supply.

It was bought by BT in 1986 and was put up for sale in 1996. BT failed, however, to find a buyer. The site is now expected to be sold for £5 million.

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