Victoria Tunnel - Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member tmob
N 54° 58.792 W 001° 36.794
30U E 588750 N 6093431
Quick Description: The Victoria Tunnel was used as an air-raid shelter during World War II.
Location: Northeast England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/30/2013 2:25:58 PM
Waymark Code: WMGQ46
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member PTCrazy
Views: 16

Long Description:
«The Victoria Tunnel is a subterranean wagonway that runs under Newcastle upon Tyne, England from the Town Moor down to the River Tyne. It was built between 1839-42 to transport coal from Leazes Main Colliery in Spital Tongues to riverside staithes (jetties) ready for loading onto boats for export.

The tunnel was driven through boulder clay and formed by a base course of stone supporting a brick arch. Loaded wagons descended the incline of the tunnel under their own weight, and were rope-hauled back to the colliery by a stationary engine. The Colliery closed in January 1860 and the Tunnel was abandoned until the start of the Second World War

In 1939-40 the tunnel was converted for use as an air raid shelter with wooden benches and bunks installed, as well as chemical toilets, anti-blast baffles, lime washed walls and a number of new entrances.

The tunnel is 2.4 miles (3.9 km) in length with a maximum depth of 85 feet (26 m) and drops 222 feet (68 m) from entrance to exit. It remains largely intact.»

Air raid shelter

«In 1939, Britain prepared for war. People were instructed to practise “Air Raid Precautions” and protect themselves from bombs dropped by the German Luftwaffe. In Newcastle, the city engineer developed plans to convert the Victoria Tunnel into a communal air raid shelter for 9000 people.»

Converting the tunnel

«It cost £37,000 to adapt the Tunnel into an air raid shelter. It was cleaned of coal dust and in some parts whitewashed. Several concrete blast walls were added to stop potential bomb debris flying along the tunnel. Electric lighting was fitted and a new concrete floor was laid. Wooden benches and about 500 bunk beds were installed along the walls, and chemical toilets enclosed in canvas cubicles were built near the entrances.

Seven new entrances were completed: Claremont Road, Hancock Museum, St Thomas’ Churchyard, Ridley Place, Shieldfield Green, Crawhall Road, and Ouse Street. At Ouse Street it was possible to walk straight into the tunnel, but the other access points looked like subway entrances and involved walking down a steep corridor.»

Sheltering in the tunnel

«There is no doubt that the tunnel was a dark, damp, and uncomfortable place to shelter. Many people were afraid to use it. Those who did remember sitting with their families and neighbours, exchanging gossip and often singing songs while waiting nervously for the “all-clear” from up above.»

-- Source

Capacity of shelter: 9000

Radiation monitoring equipment: no

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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scotty299 visited Victoria Tunnel - Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, UK 7/6/2015 scotty299 visited it
broadoak2006 visited Victoria Tunnel - Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, UK 9/27/2013 broadoak2006 visited it

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