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Report - Kingsway Telephone Exchange, London - Late 2013

Maniac

rebmeM LD82
Regular User
#1
Thought it was about time these photos saw the light of day, it was 2 years ago now, FFS where does the time go.

A Brief history of the Kingsway exchange.

Kingsway started out life as the Chancery Lane deep shelter. This was constructed as part of the war effort to provide shelter to Londoners from the blitz, although it was never actually used for this purpose. After the war use passed to the public record office who used it for storing many tons of documents.

After several years of use for that purpose, the decision was made to adapt the shelter to become a hardened trunk exchange for the then GPO run telephone system. In order to serve this purpose the complex was vastly extended, with 4 new large diameter tunnels built to one side of the existing parallel tubes that formed the shelter.

The complex really was quite vast by the time this work was done, and in its hayday through the 50s-70's housed many tones of exchange equipment, something like 300 miles of cable, several generaters, air conditioning plant, staff facilities, kitchens etc. etc. evidence of most of this can still be seen in there to this day. By the 1980's however the importance of the facility started to decline as the telephone networks changed and evolved and by the 1990's there was very minimal equipment left in the exchange.

For a while in the late 80's part of it was used as the Kingsway computer centre which provided secure backup facilities and a paging network to parts of London. Since that ceased operation, the only real use of Kingsway has been for storage. A smalll part of it was also used briefly as the headquarters of a goverment organisation, although details on this are sketchey.

There is a fantastically detailed history on subbrit for anyone who cares to read it.

Our Explore

My memories of this evening are a little hazy, but I know it started with myself and SirJohnnyP checking out a certain well known reservoir and bumping into a few others who, as it turns out, were also heading to the same place later in the night - bonus. We actually ended up with a fairly sizeable group, think there were about 8 or 9 of us in the end, which is totally bonkers for a site like this.

We spent several hours in here. This place is vast, it's one of the largest underground complexs in London and you really can feel the size of the place when you're down there. Probably one of the best places I've ever has the opportunity to explore.

Explored with SirJonnyP, Raptor Jesus, Elliot and others who I forget now.

So here's my selection of photos.

Quite a lot of the complex consists of empty tunnels like these
IMG_8080_zpsyurgma4p.jpg


IMG_8033_zpssvlyomcv.jpg


But there's still a lot of plant in place

Ventilation
IMG_7979_zpsmmbegd9n.jpg


This one was still running
IMG_8078_zpse2b7zjpn.jpg


Generators
IMG_8056_zpsdgqlubu9.jpg


IMG_8046_zpsh9hpdjdx.jpg


IMG_8047_zps27j1abyd.jpg


IMG_7978_zpswa6t01bi.jpg


Main power distribution
IMG_8044_zpsxmgpqopo.jpg


IMG_8042_zpsahdojy0c.jpg


IMG_7972_zpsxm24jxcr.jpg


IMG_7985_zpszp9h4r2c.jpg


The MDF (Main Distribution Frame)
IMG_8007_zpsfxadexc8.jpg


Air cooling and dehumidifying plant
IMG_8024_zpsgrt26vb9.jpg


IMG_8016_zpsvngl4gti.jpg


Some cool signs
IMG_7974_zpsysqir1qu.jpg


IMG_8040_zps9va9qe6w.jpg


Other bits of equipment just dotted around the place
IMG_8009_zpskqfpeqml.jpg


Before the internet existed this is how businesses connected their network together.
IMG_7999_zpsdtcxpatu.jpg


Thanks for Looking :-)

Maniac.
 

Bigjobs

Official Smartarse
Regular User
#8
Very nice indeed
 

Seffy

Bally up!
Regular User
#9
So much love for this place. I'd love to get back down there!
Lovely photos mate, it is hard to believe it was two years ago, so much has happened since then eh.
 

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