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Report - - Kingsway Telephone Exchange - October 2013 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Kingsway Telephone Exchange - October 2013



sirjonnyp

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#1
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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After hearing this site had been hit quite a bit at the Wiltshire meet a plan was set in motion for the following weekend involving Maniac and Raptor Jesus.

We headed down to Holborn once it seemed late enough, although we then waited an age for Elliott whilst he got a McDonalds :rolleyes:

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I knew the place was big, but the scale of it really was impressive.

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At the time I was working on the East end of Fleet Street - I can't have been far from being underneath my work place!

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Despite not being in use for some time, the place still has plenty of things going on, such as the fire alarm, the working lifts and lights, the almost-working-phones, and the running generator.

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Despite being down there for what seemed like an absolute age there was still so much that I missed compared to other reports. Going through my photos I thought I had stuff of the offices which I don't it turns out, and none of my photos of the bar area came out.

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Thanks for reading

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SJP​