Subterranean London...Mapped!

By M@ Last edited 123 months ago
Subterranean London...Mapped!

Cold War bunkers, abandoned Tube stations, buried rivers, deep level shelters...London's concealed features are among its most intriguing. So, in age-old Londonist tradition, we've created a map to try and show what a hollow city this is.

And we need your help.

We've plotted the more obvious features - the Fleet River, Zone 1 ghost stations, the Kingsway telephone exchange, etc. But we know there's a lot more down there. Please use the comments to draw our attention to omissions. A few (flexible) rules...

(1) We only plot places that the general public cannot normally gain access to.

(2) Working Tube and train lines are not shown.

(3) Only spaces big enough to comfortably accommodate a person are included - ruling out some sewers and telecommunication ducts.

(4) A few other places we know about (e.g. River Tyburn) are not yet shown because we couldn't find accurate guides to their location or route.

We'll keep the map updated as people send in new information.

Last Updated 14 March 2008


Do you want to include the Honor Oak reservoir, one of the largest underground reservoirs? Supposed to be somewhere around here:


Do you want to include the Honor Oak reservoir, one of the largest underground reservoirs? Supposed to be somewhere around SE22 0RY.


More on the Clapham North Deep level Shelter over here:


Feel free to use the pictures for the map :)


Have you ever come across any Sleestaks while spelunking London?


The River Tyburn along with some of its fish and possibly the smallest bridge in London can be seen in the basement of Gray's Antique Market (nearest tube: bond street) The Market has two entrances - choose the entrance down the side of the building marked 'the mews'. The antique market is a little gem in itself.


I have a copy of 'War Plan UK' by Duncan Campbell sitting around at work. This 1982 book supposedly details some (largely unauthorised) exploration that the author undertook, investigating miles of unmapped and uncharted (or not publicly charted) underground tunnels, apparently linking key government and defense sites with various telecommunications centres.

I'll see what I can dig out from the book. There used to be a website with a handful of interesting pictures from Duncan's explorations, but I can't find it any more...


From what I recall, the last part of the Tyburn runs along Storey's Gate/Great Smith Street/Great College Street to the Thames. I think I discovered that on the Parliament website. I'll try to dig it out...

You could also include the Westbourne which runs along Westbourne Terrace, through the Serpentine, through Sloane Square (as everyone knows), along Bourne Street to meet the Thames below the Royal Hospital.

And don't forget the sewers running along the Embankment.

Also, is there something beneath the MI6 building?:


The Honor Oak underground reservoir is in the location shown on the map. It's under the space bordered by Homstall Road, Cheltenham Road, Kelvington Road and Brenchley Gardens on the map. When completed in 1909 it was the largest underground resevoir in the world and is still the largest in Europe. It holds enough water for 1 million people.


There is a bunker here

It was built by Churchill as an alternative to the Cabinet War Rooms. Codenamed "Paddock" it was the place where Churchill & his ministers would have holed up in if the Nazis won the battle of Britain. Apparently it was never used much due to the damp.


Four floors of ironclad safety deposit vaults beneath what is now the City of London Magistrates Court. Was the UK's first deposit vault, and doubly secure because the waters of the Walbrook allegedly surround it.

It's on the triangular site at the corner of Walbrook, Bucklersbury Passage and Queen Victoria Street.


There is  a grid of concrete plugs on Ealing Common, each about 2 feet square. I think I heard somewhere that there is an air raid shelter underneath, but I've tried to Google for information and drawn a blank. The concrete caps were put on about 2 years ago after someone somehow fell through the old metal covering - I walked past as the ambulance and police were trying to extract him. Would love to know more.


There is the tunnel system that runs from the old Middlesex hospital on Mortimer Road, along Charlotte street up to Howland street then across to Capper Street and Huntley Street before heading up to the old A&E on Grafton Way.

I worked in the hospital back in 2001/2002 and used to use them al the time to get between buildings. Not sure what state they would be in now, or if they are even accessible.


You may be interested in the complex beneath Waterloo station. I went down with station staff as a child in 70's, I was a big fan of the underground, still am come to that. Other than cathedral sized multilevel maintenance areas there are suites of offices and storage facilities that date to the ww2 period. I did not get to see everything, but there were still furnishings including desks with the old Bakelite telephones and blotter pads in place, bunko beds and lockers chairs and tables etc. I was told that some of the lightbulbs had been continually lit since the memory of the oldest employees. I doubt that access today would be as restricted as it was then but who knows?


I can’t find much reference to the Central Buildings Citadel mentioned in the map, underneath the Queen Elizabeth II Centre. Does it have another name?

Jessica Foley

Is it possible for one person alone to visit any of these places? I find them fascinating.