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Report - - Belsize Park Deep Level Shelter, London - December 2020 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Belsize Park Deep Level Shelter, London - December 2020


LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
History:
Belsize Park Deep Level Shelter, was constructed by the government during the second world war, as a means of shelter for the public during the blitz. The shelter was built directly behind Belsize Tube Station, hence the style of its tunnels.
Inside, there are two parallel tunnels, both at a length of 1,200ft long, and split into two levels, providing an area capable of accommodating up to 8,000 people. Each tunnel was kitted out with bunk beds, medical posts, kitchens and toilets, serving both those stationed at the shelter, and those seeking refuge.
The bunker itself first began operating as an air raid space on the 23rd of July 1944, having been completed after just a 2-year construction process. On the surface, and like the other 7 deep level shelters across the capital, there are two circular turret entrances, both of which consisting of a spiral staircase and lift shaft leading to the bunker.
In more recent times, London Underground leased the ownership of the shelter to Abbot Datastore, which utilised the shelter's lengthy and spacious tunnels as a storage facility. However, as of June this year, Abbot Datastore had moved out, leaving the bunker subsequently stripped of all that it once held.
Interestingly, at the time of constructing London's 7 deep level shelters, only 5 of them were intended for public use, whilst the other 2 were kept for private use by government officials, who were deemed far more important than the average Londoner...
Today, Belsize Deep Level Shelter lays quiet, but not abandoned, the lights, lifts, and one of its small engines all remain working, which truly is a rare sight. Unfortunately, It will only be a matter of time before it goes the same way as Clapham South, and re-purposed once again. Or worse, the same way as Clapham North... (hopefully not).

The layout of the shelter


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The Explore:
It had been a good while since I'd explored a London Deep Shelter, almost an entire year if truth be told, and so after receiving a tip-off from a close friend about Belsize being accessible, there was little time to hesitate. I'd received the tip-off on the Thursday of the week I visited, however, neither myself nor the two friends I planned to go with were available until the following evening, and so, we left it to chance, simply hoping it would still be open...
Friday night soon rolled around, and into town we went, and as if by some miracle, luck was on our side.
It wasn't long after arriving that we worked out which point people had been getting in at, and so, we swiftly made our way in, and found ourselves at the top of the staircase.


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Now, having reached the bottom of the staircase, we began to make our way into the tunnels. And what a sight it was, this was the first time I'd ever seen somewhere like this so well kitted out, and so it certainly made for something of an impressionable moment.
I didn't quite anticipate just how clean and well kept this place would be either, and after seeing the recent state of Clapham North, this was quite refreshing.


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After entering the first junction in the tunnels, I noticed an area that looked like a polished version of the 3 Clapham bunkers. It was certainly something to see it lit up the whole way along as opposed to just one or two flickering light bulbs.
I can only imagine this would've been the state of all 7 deep shelters at one point in time.


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Despite its design making for a couple of decent shots, there weren't actually many interesting features to be seen down the far end, and so, it was time to head in the opposite direction. By this point, we'd already passed the first mercury arc rectifier, but decided to hold off on photos while we explored the rest of the shelter.
Although, it wasn't long before we found the passage leading to the second switchgear room, containing the other arc rectifier.


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(Some adjustments were made to this image for authenticity purposes)

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I don't know just how close I managed to get it with the colours, but I presume it would've been something along those lines.
Once we'd all copied each other's photo, we pressed on, and with the time running out for the last train back from Belsize Park, we didn't hang around, and decided to rattle off as many shots as possible in the time we had left.


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With most of the upper section of the 2 tunnels complete, we headed to the lower section, which was essentially just the upper section repeated but with a slightly different shape to the tunnels. Although I'll always regard this place as one of the best kept London shelters I've seen, once you see one part, you've seen most of the other parts.
However, there were a few features that made the lower section photo-worthy.


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And that was that, and just in the nick of time, we made the last train. This was certainly one of the better nights we've had in town, and hopefully not the last! I would like to add on a personal note, that the original plan was to sit on this report for a while, and let things cool off at this place. However, due to a certain character plastering photos all over the Facebook groups earlier this evening, it didn't really make a lot of sense anymore to sit on this, and so, there it is! Another bit of London's wartime history beneath the streets...

Thanks for looking
 
Last edited:

Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
Matthew hooper strikes again with his facebook bullshit, nicely photographed
 

mockney reject

Chief Goon
Staff member
Moderator
Shame it’s already getting vandalised
 

mookster

grumpy sod
Regular User
Matthew hooper strikes again with his facebook bullshit, nicely photographed
Sometimes I think it's a pity that crazy moron blocked me, as I'd love to rip into him again.
 

Wevsky

A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
Sometimes I think it's a pity that crazy moron blocked me, as I'd love to rip into him again.
I thought id blocked him years ago due to him constantly messaging me about ewf, or thelatest thing id done, seems not, pointed out hes a dick for whoring this all over fb etc. and finally did away with him, youtube goon of the year has been here so ill await the secret vault version of what this place is
 

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