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Report - - Manchester Cathedral Steps/Victoria Arches, Feb 2010 | Underground Sites |

Report - Manchester Cathedral Steps/Victoria Arches, Feb 2010

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Staff member
Victoria Arches/Cathedral Steps - Visited by Ojay, Stepping Lightly & Userscott


Situated 'Under' Victoria street between Victoria Bridge St and Hanging Ditch known as Hunts Bank.


My 2nd Visit to the 'Arches' since major fail last time getting in the so called 'Easy' entrance....and getting busted!!!

Having met up once again on a freezing cold night in Manchester, I was now only too familiar with the 'Getting in is not for the faint hearted'..
and guess what you were all right on that account, getting in was tricky to say the least and provided a few more grins thanks to S.L & Userscott who's original plans of pure genius have made it all possible, I have uploaded a fair few photo's, hope you don't mind as it's not everyday you get to see this place! and I know there has also been a fair few reports some old some new as it's well documented on here, but its definately one of Manchesters' finest UrbEx venues. Anyway thanks for looking :-)

Some History:

Dating back to the 1838 when the Arches were first constructed at a cost of between £60,000 and £100,000.
First advertised in October 1839, the arched vaults under Victoria were offered as being suitable for wine merchants, printers and machine makers.

Since 1840 they have been home to a number of tenants, including Robert Armstrong - Civil Engineer one of the earliest tenants manufacturing Scott's patent boiler cleaners. The electricity department where tests and investigations were made on electrical equipmemt until 1909. It then became home for a transformer station that was used between 1936 and 1957.

Also, in 1907 Thomas Cook & Son setup shop in the premises built onto the Arches by Victoria Bridge. Cook's had expanded by 1921 and were also
renting space at the Southern end of the Arches for offices and storage until 1932.

It's landing stages were also home to the Irwell Excursion which ran from 1895 until around 1901. The Irwell Steam Ferries would run in half hour intervals between 10:30am and 5:30pm to Manchester Docks, via Albert Bridge. There was also a cruise along the newly opened Manchester Ship Canal through Irlam, Lymm, Runcorn and Frodsham to Eastham and special Bank Holiday sailings to Liverpool and New Brighton.

During the War the Arches were converted and used as an Air-raid shelter, new entrances were installed along with flooring, seating and lighting.

Based on National guidelines, the shelter could hold upto 1030 people for 6 hours in unventilated conditions or as many as 5600 in an emergency if ventilated.

The entrances were from Victoria Bridge by a wooden stairway; Victoria Street junction with Fennel St by a flight of steps formed under the pavement (Now Sealed over) and from the Cathedral approach by means of a wooden stairway from the existing conveniences.

The So called 'Cathedral Steps' That once led down from near the Cathedral into the Arches

The total cost of converting the Arches was estimated at £10,150 in 1939 and took around 3 months to complete with additional brick 'blast' walls.

A 500lb MC bomb could perforate and 'blow through' if it made a direct hit over the crown of the arch, however the Arches were deemed 'safe' and suitable for air-raid shelter accommodation.

In the later years access to the Arches was only possible via the steps over the river wall, the northern cartway entrance having being sealed off by 1905.

Main Passageway Through The Arches



To Arches 1,2 & 3

Original Steps Leading Up To Street Level For Public Convenience

Entrance To Gents Toilets

Window Down To Washroom

Down To Public Convenience

Gents Toilets


Original Toilet Window; Rest In Pieces



Medical Post



To The Arches >






Inside One Of The Arches, Note the Ventilation Ducts


Remnants Of War Time - Air Raid Signage


Previous Use Of The Old Electricity Station

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Excellent report top mark's and i love the high view shot absolute quality...there won't be anything left under manchester for you to visit soon.


Staff member
LOL,thanks mate, I was thinking that, but theres plenty more tunnels yet:thumb


The Green Giraffe
28DL Full Member
nice pics. every report always includes new views of it, well done!
still havent been in there, eventhough i found the entrance ages ago... soon!


Always liked this location! A good set and high photo to set the scene :p


Staff member
Nice work pal keep at it! Coming along nicely your stuff is!

Thanks dude, I'm trying to get about, need to look at manchesters drains now, as I seem to be missing out on some quality underground stuff :)