- Subterranean London
The metropolis of
Londonhas been occupied for millennia, and has over that time acquired a large number of subterraneanstructures.
These have served a number of purposes
Water and waste
Since its foundation, the
Thameshas been at the heart of London. Many tributaries flow into it and over time these have changed from sources of water to open sewers and sources of disease.
As the city developed from a cluster of villages, many of the existing rivers were buried or canalized: see
subterranean rivers of London.
The rivers failed to carry the
sewageof the growing metropolis. The resulting health crisis led to the creation in the late nineteenth century of the London sewerage system, designed by Joseph Bazalgette, one of the first sewer systems in the world.
Thames Water Ring Mainis a notable modern piece of large-scale water supply infrastructure, comprising 80km of wide-bore water-carrying tunnels.
London Undergroundwas the first underground railwayin the world, and remains the most extensive.
tunnels underneath the River Thameshave been created, ranging from foot-tunnels to road tunnels and the tunnels of the Underground. The first of these, the Thames Tunnel, designed by Marc Brunel, was the first tunnel known to have been successfully constructed underneath a navigable river.
Kingsway has an almost intact underground passageway for trams which is rarely open to the public. See
Kingsway tramway subway
Many underground military citadels have been built under London. Few are acknowledged to exist and even fewer open to the public. One exception is the famous, and now very popular tourist destination, Cabinet War Rooms, used by
Winston Churchillduring World War II.
World War II, parts of the Underground were converted into air-raid shelters known as the deep-level shelters. Some of these were converted for military and civil defence use, such as the now-defunct Kingsway telephone exchange.
civil defence centres in Londonare wholly or partly underground, mostly as a legacy of the Cold War. Many other subterranean facilities exist within the centre of government in Whitehall, many linked by underground tunnels. [cite book
first = Peter
title =Beneath the City Streets
publisher = Panther
date = 1979
pages =pages 183 — 211
isbn =978-0586050552 ]
Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, the Cabinet Officecrisis management facility, is probably the best-known of these facilities.
Books written about these facilities, include "
Beneath the City Streets" by Peter Laurie and " War Plan UK" by Duncan Campbell.
London, like most other major cities, also has extensive underground infrastructure for
electricity distribution, natural gassupply, water supply, and telecommunications, including the BT copper local loops and optical fibrefrom numerous suppliers.
Underground structures continue to exist in London even though they are no longer in use
London Hydraulic Power Company, set up in 1883, installed a hydraulic power network of high-pressure cast iron water mains under London. These were bought by Mercury Communicationsfor use as telecommunications ducts.
* An extensive private underground railway, the
London Post Office Railway, was constructed by the Post Office, but is now no longer used.
* There are some
closed London Underground stationswhich are no longer accessible to the public.
Closed London Underground stations
Military citadels under London
London deep-level shelters
Tunnels underneath the River Thames
London sewerage system
Catacombs of London
Subterranean rivers of London
Neverwhere, a story set in a fantasy underground LondonIndividual sites of interest:
Kingsway tramway subway
King William Street tube station
Holborn Viaduct Low Level Station
Oxgate Admiralty Citadel
Bishopsgate railway station
Northern Outfall Sewer
Southern Outfall Sewer
* Emmerson, A. and Beard, T. (2004) "London's Secret Tubes", Capital Transport Publishing, ISBN 1-85414-283-6
* Trench, R. and Hillman, E. (1993) "London Under London: A subterranean guide", second revised edition, London: John Murray, ISBN 0-7195-5288-5
* Campbell, Duncan (24 Nov 1983) "War Plan UK". Granada. UK. ISBN 0586084797 & ISBN 978-0586084793
* [http://www.subbrit.org.uk/cgi-bin/search/search.pl?Realm=SUBBRIT&q=London%20&%20Middlesex Subterranea Britannica]
* [http://underground-history.co.uk/front.php Disused stations on the London underground]
* [http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/books.html Subterranea Britannica research group book list]
* [http://www.tubephotos.com/?goto=eustonstationabandonedtunnels&thumbs=ok/ Photo gallery of disused tunnels at Euston tube Station]
* [http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/london-topological.html BLDGBLOG: "London Topological"]
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