When the Central Line was used as a fighter plane factory

Whilst looking for something totally different on the Discovery TV website, I came across an interesting short video clip about the time when Plessey occupied several miles of tunnel under London and set up a factory inside.

The Central Line extension from Liverpool St was built before the war, but not fitted out for trains until the war finished – priorities being somewhat diverted. After the above ground Plessey factory was bombed by German planes, they decided to move nearly 2,000 people into the newly built tunnels.

The factory specialised in making components for fighter planes and bombers.

The conversion of the Underground was completed in March 1942 at a cost of £500,000 and gave Plessey 300,000 sq.ft. of factory floor.

The 4 and a half minute video clip is on the Discovery Website.


Incidentally, I was looking to see if Discovery Science is going to repeat a program I saw last night about the Jubilee Line extension. While nearly a decade old, the documentary had loads of good footage of tunnels etc. Sadly, I can’t find a repeat date, but did notice that next Sunday (25th Oct), there will be a programme about the building of the Singapore Underground.

Whats's on in London: today or tomorrow or this weekend

Posted in subterranean stuff Tagged with: ,
3 comments on “When the Central Line was used as a fighter plane factory
  1. Mike Dent says:

    Hi Ian,
    thats interesting. I have a feeling I watched the Jubilee extension program you
    mentioned a couple of years ago or more with my young Son.
    I remember they had to transport several of the engines via the roads and then lower them down to the track below through an access ‘hatch’.
    I’d like to see that again.
    I’ll take a look at the short video you mention above, looks good!
    BTW, do you know if it is possible to get a look in the old BT telephone exchange which is deep under london? I recall it was up for sale but not sure if it sold yet?
    Coming to London next week with the kids and your site is a gold mine.


  2. Roger says:

    Hi Ian

    The video on discovery channel is no longer there. I have searched around for it and can’t find it on discovery website. Doesn’t seem to be on youtube either, do you have access to it somehow?

    Your APRIL 7, 2012 blog about this factory is very interesting.

    Cheers Roger

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