Report - - Bomb Proof Records Rooms, Bristol - June 2020 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Bomb Proof Records Rooms, Bristol - June 2020


Trip Hopping
Regular User
Visited with @Seffy @WhoDaresWins @END-PROC and @rigsby a couple of times over last few weeks. Been aware this has been 'open' again from almost before lock down began as a few photos have appeared online. Thankfully it's remained open long enough to finally get in here. It's not been open for about 12 years and I sadly missed out last time. Access has somewhat changed - previously it was a rather crazy route of climbing through the air system vent at the top of the tunnel archway and then through the ducting to the plant/machinery room and through a hole that had been cut in the ducting. No doubt that access came from the irational boys and girls. They were smashing anything underground in Bristol in the late 90's early 2000's while most you tubers were still swimming in their dads ballsack.

Access this time around involves walking through the front door as whoever opened it did quite the job and took an angle grinder to the door hinges.


So what of the the history to the place? There is seemingly no real history of the buildings life as a bomb proof records storage. This may have been due to the fact that the council wanted to keep its use unknown - after all the contents of many of the files/records stored in this building would have been significantly important and in some cases extremely valuable.

What we do know is the railway tunnel itself was part of a short lived branch/spur from the 'Clifton Extension Railway' which is now known as the Severn Beach Line. The terminus was just after this tunnel with the 'Hotwells Station'


The above image shows the station before the lines closure and subsequent removal. This image was almost certainly taken from the North Somerset side of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The observatory on top of the rocks remains till this day.


The Bristol Port Railway and Pier company (BPRP) ran from a main terminus at Hotwells (originally called Clifton), northwards to west of Bristol city centre between the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bridge Valley Road, to a terminus at Avonmouth. Upon leaving Hotwells, the line ran north alongside the River Avon through two tunnels, to a halt and passing point, then to Sneyd Park Junction, where the Clifton Extension Railway joined it. Continuing north following the river is the station at Sea Mills, then a bridge over the River Trym. The line curved west around Horse-Shoe Bend, then went slightly inland to Shirehampton, then turned back north-west. At Avonmouth Dock Junction the Extension Railway diverged north, and another line diverged west for freight, while the BPRP line continued into the station at Avonmouth Docks. Beyond there, the line diverged again, with one line going west to Avonmouth (Royal Edward) and another north to rejoin the Extension Railway. The main BPRP line continued on into its Avonmouth terminus.

The branch was closed in 1922 to make way for construction of the A4 Portway. The two tunnels that now sit either side of Bridge Valley Road remained. Known as Tunnel #1 and Tunnel #2 they were 160m and 65m long respectively. Tunnel #1 was repurposed as an air raid shelter during world war 2. It was so popular that the council had to initiate a pass system to deal with the numbers that would attempt to use it during raids. This tunnel was then repurposed again in the 1970/80's when Bristol Gun Club turned around 1/3rd of it into a shooting range. This however ceased to be used with the passing of the firearms amendment in 1997 (post Dunblane) - Tunnel #1 was explored by myself and many others in 2008. You can see some pictures here: https://www.whateversleft.co.uk/underground/bridge-valley-road-deep-shelter-bristol


Tunnel #2 - the shorter at 65m - seems to have been converted into a 'records store' around 1940 as the poster above would suggest. This was @rigsby's pic from 2008, sadly the poster has crumbled away and floats with many other things in the rather brown foot deep water.




The tunnel had been completely blocked up and covered in rubble at the end facing north. The southern end where the station once stood was additionally bricked up with a small door way and what appears to be some sort of fake window. As the years have gone by the site is almost entirely covered from the main A4 road and only if you go looking for it would you find it.



Inside it's a narrow dog leg affair to start with and then you see a narrow corridor running up the length of the tunnel. To the right initially you have a plant room with the remains of the old ventilation system. A small wash room and toilet. Then its a case of individual rooms with blast/safe doors. Each room contained storage on two levels. Some shelving remains, the wooden variety less so. These rooms are on the whole rather disinteresting but for the nice detail on each door with what it stored. Upstairs some newspaper clippings remain. These date back to the late 60's early 70's. It's difficult to know exactly when the site was abandoned but I'm guessing it may have been as late as early 80's. It would probably coincide with when the council moved to the 'create' centre and now store all records.






At the far end is a safe, the handle of which has since been snapped off (was still on there in 2008) - it also looks like @Ojay must have nipped in for a cheeky 1664 at some point.



The best room perhaps is left for last - a much narrower room below entitled 'Police' on the door but upstairs the 2nd floor stretches across the previous downstairs room as well. In here are some wonderful old boxes that stored deeds and important documents for some of the wealthiest and most influential persons in Bristol. Possibly all part of the Merchant Ventures that you may have heard a bit about recently. Boxes for the Fry family (Chocolate) and Wills (Cigarettes) perhaps the most noticeable. Some other boxes dated way back into the 19th century. All sadly empty but still wonderful things slowly rusting away in the darkness.








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grumpy sod
Regular User
That's awesome, not too into the underground stuff but I love the look of this.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Really good report thoroughly enjoyed reading your history on the place,

Such a shame on those old boxes to sit and dissappear into dust.


Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
This is a cracker. Lovely work. So nice of someone to open the door for you. Loved it:thumb:thumb

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