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Report - Drakelow Tunnels

ghostofFLO

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Guided tour on the 16th, well worth it!
You could tell Paul and the guys who took us round really love this place, they had a wealth of knowledge and had dedicated a lot of time and effort to keeping the place as well preserved and in working order as they could.

We were really lucky to get in here, the tour sold out real quick, apparently the Friends of Drakelow Tunnels are doing one more tour later this month and then that’s it, closed for good.
I think they are quite disheartened by the fact that the actual owners of the tunnels have been stripping out all the original factory machinery and ducting for scrap metal and have been allowing Air-Soft groups free reign to run around and trash the place. The owners have also turned off the dehumidifiers to save cash.
Partitions, doors and anything else that can decay or grow mould is doing so at a rate of knots.

This is just a general bit of info from reading Paul Stokes book Drakelow Unearthed.

In the years leading up to WW2, many of the Midlands car manufacturing plants were given new roles producing the parts for British fighter and bomber aircraft as part of a massive rearmament plan under the Ministry of Aircraft Production.

Government owned shadow factories were set up in Acocks Green and Solihull and Rover were given management of thee sites. With the outbreak of war, as aircraft parts became more in demand, it was decided that a back up plant was needed and work began on Drakelow in 1941.

Apparently this was one of four major underground factories, plus some smaller ones built during this time, including Dudley, Wiltshire and one between a couple of stations on the Central line in London.

Parts of the tunnel system were used by the RAF, ARP and Home Guard until the end of the war and production of plane parts stopped in 1946 when they started manufacturing tank engine parts until the Mid 1950s.

In the 1960’s as part of the governments new civil defence plans Drakelow was adapted to become a nuclear bunker and became RSG9 (Regional Seat of Government defence region 9) the role of which was to allow the government to keep operating until such a time as it was safe to go outside again, although apparently they would of only had food and water to last for about 6 weeks.
The BBC had a radio studio within the complex to issue pre recorded advice and warning messages but the main forms of communication would have been by land line.

In the 80’s the tunnels had a massive overhaul as part of Margaret Thatcher’s Home Defence Review and became an RGHQ.
Until this time there had been the remains of a derelict village on the Drakelow site, this was pretty much demolished to reduce visibility from the air.

With every change in use the tunnels went through, the areas in use diminished, until by the 80s only about a third of the network was occupied.

Sorry in advance for the quality of these shots, which are not great - I don’t think we were meant to be taking photos and I had to take sneaky pictures on my camera phone as we went round, although im sure he knew what i was doing but he didnt seem to fussed. Probably cos all the good stuffs been ripped out...

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One of Three blast doors on Adit A

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If you were looking at this sign, then shit had allready hit the fan


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One of the two 147KW diesel generators used to power the complex.

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Tunnel leading from the generator room.

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The BBC studio

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Operating theatre, If you go on the tour youl hear a gory little story about what happens to injured survivors in a nuclear war...

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A maze of tunnels stretching off to who knows where...

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Amazing tour - hope they decide to keep em going.
 

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