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The Catacombs of London

UNITED KINGDOM | Friday, 23 November 2018 | Views [33]

 

London’s underground is a spider’s web of long tunnels connecting the city like no other. Although you can hop on a tube and romp through the earth at your leisure, and some people do just that, there are many lesser known tunnels and catacombs that lurk beneath the busy overground. Burrowing into the ground is almost a necessity for the modern city. The bustle of bodies that inhabit London would stifle the streets if they had to walk everywhere, and even now the amount of cars crammed on the roads makes driving in London almost a separate skill to driving anywhere else in England. There is even a congestion charge to encourage Londerers not to drive and instead take the underground. So, what mysteries lie under London? Below are four almost-secret tunnels and catacombs throughout the capital, each with its own interesting history.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Constructed in the latter part of the 20th century, this sullen passage connects Greenwich to the Island Gardens on the isle of dogs. It was nearly destroyed during the second world war following a bombing, but emergency repairs were able to stop flooding and save the tunnel. The repairs can still be seen along its corridors today. This 370 metre long walk way has come under scrutiny however with sporadic closures. In 2011, the tunnel was closed 19 days out of a month, much to the annoyance of Londonders.

Nursemaid’s Tunnel

A more exclusive inclusion to the list is the Nursemaid’s tunnel, also known as the tunnel under Euston road. It’s initial construction was designed for the rich people who would afford to live in a townhouse on Crescent road but didn’t fancy the crossing the busy streets in order to get there. One of the perks of this area was having a nursemaid, where the tunnel gets its name. Unlike most underground secrets of London, this path still remains closed most of the year. There are two ways you can access the tunnel; wait until the annual open garden weekend (the next being the 8th June 2019, or buy a house on Crescent road and become a key holder.

London Bridge Catacombs

While tourists flock to the dungeons, there are a series of catacombs and vaults underneath London bridge. Recently transformed into the London Bridge Vault experience, the underground network offers more than enough potential for ghostly imaginings and eerie echos. Take a ouija board and a crucifix, for good measure.

The Old Vic Tunnels

My favourite on this list is the Old Vic tunnels. Originally built to railway lines but were disused, they were then transformed into a performance space with the Old Vic and saw acts such as Kevin Spacey and was the theatre for a banksy cinema screening. The doors to this performance space were closed in 2013 and was bought by Vans in 2014 and is now an underground skate park.

Tags: catacombs, london

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