Report - - Victoria Arches, Manchester – March 2012 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Victoria Arches, Manchester – March 2012


Regular User
There have been some really great reports from here and hope you're not all thinking "oh God another Victoria Arches report". It is an amazing place. Anyway here's a condensed guide to its history.

The Arches were built out into the River Irwell as part of a road widening (and level raising) exercise in the 1830’s. There were some pretty spectacular collapses earlier and further along the river so they seem to have decided to build it really well, plus the spaces were to act as landing stages, work places and storage (the south end arches may have been exclusively for storage as they had no daylight). They were used for smelting metal, making boiler cleaners, travel agents, a battery and testing station for the city electrical department (some of whose equipment survives), and as pleasure boat landing stages (although the toxic river was a bit of a downer) reached via a timber stair overhanging the river.

Flooding caused them to be less used in the 20th century until they were adapted for use as air raid shelters before and during WW2. The work cost £10,000 and included building the low level blast walls in most of the vaults. Different capacities have been given – say about 1600 people used these shelters (1030 people for 6 hours in unventilated conditions or as many as 5600 in an emergency if ventilated) which must have been the classiest going

Visited with Ojay and Dave O. Big thanks to Ojay for the intro. to the Arches and for setting up some classy lighting effects including propping my Lenser on a dead rat to light up one passage (he was dead already – no rodents were probably harmed during this visit)


Stalactites in one of the south far end vaults

Vault 1 – showing one of the wartime blast walls (and wartime air vents?)


An old flue – also shows an original road level

Entrance to the Gents

No bloody Elsan toilets here :D

Put out that light

Near the northern end

The famous yellow sign has gone :(


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