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Report - - Kingsway Telephone Exchange, London - September 2013 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Kingsway Telephone Exchange, London - September 2013

Seffy

Bally up!
Regular User
#1
Kingsway Telephone Exchange, London

Seffy, Gabe, WhoDaresWins and END-PROC.

Some history of this amazing place...

The Kingsway telephone exchange was built as a deep-level shelter underneath Chancery Lane tube station in the early 1940s. Although intended for use as an air raid shelter, like many of the deep level shelters it was not used for its intended purpose and was instead used as a government communications centre.
The site was given to the General Post Office (GPO) in 1949. At the time, the Post Office was also responsible for telephones as well as postal system. The two-tunnel shelter was extended by the addition of four tunnels at right-angles to the originals. It was completed by 1954, and in 1956 it became the termination point for the first transatlantic telephone cable - TAT1.
Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, Kingsway Trunk Switching Centre (as it became known) was a trunk switching centre and repeater station with Post Office engineering staff totalling over 200 at its peak. Also located on site was the Radio Interference Investigation Group, whose function was to prevent television viewers and radio listeners in north and central London from suffering interference to their service from external sources such as thermostats, fluorescent tubes and injection moulding equipment. The country's first Radiopaging terminal was also installed on this site in the 1970s.
The site had a staff restaurant, tea bar, games room and licensed bar. Its bar claimed to be the deepest in the United Kingdom, located at approximately 200 feet below street level. The site contained an artesian well and rations to maintain several hundred people for many months, ensuring a safe environment in case of nuclear attack.
By the early 1980s the site was subject to a phased closure after large quantities of blue asbestos were found on the site. By 1995 only the main distribution frame was still in service. This reportedly has been removed.
In October 2008, British Telecom announced that the tunnels were for sale.
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For more information, see this brilliant write up from Subbrit.

We were on a bit of a roll this particular night. This was the second escapade of the night, and a mighty fine one at that. Having heard rather a lot about the place, it goes without saying that it was damn good to be able to finally do it.

This is one amazing place. The fact that it exists underneath a bustling city, and indeed a live Tube station, and most people don't even know of it's existence, is one of the reasons why it is so fascinating (to me anyhow).

Could have spent even longer down here, but time was getting on and we had more to move on to.

Anyway, on with some (mediocre) photos:

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The fire alarm panel on the right, with an alarm blaring from it. This gave us the second fright, after the infamous squeaky fan further back...

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An Alley of the Cable variety

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The bottom of the lift shaft, housing the lift. :D

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Cheers for taking a gander.​