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Report - Drakelow tunnels, Kinver. Staffs Nov 2010

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by vwdirtboy, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. vwdirtboy

    vwdirtboy Keeuunnntt!
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    Thanks to Chris and Dave for the invite, Splendid walkabout even tho I could here the whip cracking behind me!


    History

    World War II

    Designed by Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners, the Drakelow Tunnel Complex (originally called "Drakelow Underground Dispersal Factory") was excavated during World War II in sandstone hills near the village of Kinver and the town of Kidderminster, Worcestershire. It was originally constructed as a shadow factory for the Rover car company who were at the time manufacturing engines for the Bristol Aeroplane Company. It was also intended to supply components to Rover's main shadow factories at Acocks Green and Solihull, to supply spare parts, and to act as a backup facility if either of the main shadow factories was damaged by enemy action.
    The cost of the facility was originally estimated at £285,000, and construction, which began in June 1941, was expected to take just one year. In the event, the underground factory achieved full production in May 1943 and the final cost exceeded £1,000,000.
    The site consists of numerous tunnels that stretch for around 3.5 mi (5.6 km), although public access on tours is limited to less than a quarter of the site.
    The tunnels contained dormitories, storage areas, workshops, electrical equipment, toilets, offices, a BBC studio, a GPO Telephones communications facility and other facilities.

    Cold War

    During the 1950s and the growing Cold War, the site was initially used by the Ministry of Supply for storage.
    Then around 1958 part of the site was developed by the Home Office as a Regional Seat of Government (RSG9). It was publicly exposed in a demonstration held there by the West Midlands Committee of 100 in the summer of 1963. Under later Home Defence schemes the bunker was designated a Sub-Regional Control (SRC), Sub-Regional Headquarters (SRHQ) and finally Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQ).
    The site was greatly modernised in the early 1980s, only a small portion of the site was designated for use. New blast doors were fitted in place of the previous wooden factory doors and the interior of the site was refurbished in the areas forward of tunnel 4.

    Post Cold War

    In about 1990 there was a plan to move the RGHQ to a much smaller bunker, formerly used by UKWMO, at Lawford Heath near Rugby. In the end this never happened, and the Drakelow site was decommissioned and sold in around 1993.

    Drakelow Preservation Trust

    Following the complex's move into private hands there were plans to redevelop the Drakelow site into a residential and commercial park. This would have involved demolishing the complex completely, leaving a site of historical importance lost forever. The plans met with local opposition and a Preservation Trust was quickly established by residents and other interested parties to fight the planned redevelopment. It was successful; however, it is feared that further plans for redevelopment will be submitted in the near future.

    The tunnels no longer offer tours as before because an airsofting group has taken over it where they hold events every two weeks.. and if I almost slipped on them fecking things once I did it a hundred times!!



    Enjoy!




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    #1 vwdirtboy, Nov 20, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010

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  2. vwdirtboy

    vwdirtboy Keeuunnntt!
    28DL Full Member

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  3. vwdirtboy

    vwdirtboy Keeuunnntt!
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    Air Filtration Plant
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    Lamson Station
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    BBC Studios
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    Emergency Exit
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    Cold War Doodlings
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