The Secrets Beneath London
Surely we are all aware of the beauty of London and its popular landmarks. The Eye of London, medical the Tower of London, the numerous museums that offer a glimpse of future, contemporary and past times, the many music halls and concert venues that bloom with excitement throughout the year and the numerous charming bars, pubs and restaurants that cater to the needs of every visitor in this European capital.
That is up for everyone to see and visit.
Have you ever asked yourself the question: what remains hidden from the eye in London? There is a not-so-obvious answer to that question and it can be found deep beneath the surface of the city. It takes the form of many subterranean structures scattered under the feet of Londeners.
There are many tunnels, a number of which are documented and well-known, while others remain more confidential. It is rumored that a number of those are used for military purposes, while others have been sold for civilian use. Generally, there are few categories that underground London structures fall into:
- Transport – London Underground was the first railway in the world to run underground. As such, it is also among the most extensive. There are many tunnels that were created for the purpose of running the Underground services. Apart from railways, multiple tunnels that go under the River Thames have been created. Additionally, a number of railway stations have cavernous vaults beneath, most of which are disused or redesigned to serve a different purpose.
- Water and waste – London’s sewerage system is another part of the many tunnels and spaces that run beneath the city. It was one of the first modern sewer systems in the world to have been put to work.
- Utility purposes – electricity distribution, water supply, gas supply and telecommunications are just part of the purposes that the underground infrastructure of London serves or used to serve.
- Defense – a number of underground military citadels occupy the underground space of London. Only a small number of these have been proven to actually exist, however. Air-raid shelters were built below ground during WWII. These were actually parts of the Underground system converted into deep-level shelters.
- Disused structures – there is a number of underground structures beneath London that exist but are no longer in use. These include the private London Post Office Railway, the London Hydraulic Power Company and parts of the London Pneumatic Despatch Company tunnels that create a link between Euston Railway station and General Post Office.
There are few notable underground attractions in London that you can visit.
- Churchill’s War rooms – of all underground London citadels, only this one is open to public. The structure served the purpose of a wartime bunker for the prime minister and other people of importance during the Blitz.
- Victorian Catacombs – hidden beneath Norwood Cemetery there is a series of passageways. Some 1500 coffins hide there distributed in 95 vaults. The coffins are all different and watertight in order to prevent spread of disease. There are monthly guided tours that take place here on the first Sunday.
- Aldwych Station – the Aldwych tube station was opened in 1907 but was later closed because of low passenger numbers. In the past, these tunnels were used as air raid shelters. Additionally, they have been stage for movie scenes and music videos.
London holds many secrets. The numerous tunnels and structures built in the past take huge area below the surface of the city. Many of them are open for visits. Be careful: don’t get lost!