London is about to get a new tunnel. Only a small one, and privately owned, but it’ll be in constant use by hundreds of people everyday.

As reported in the news media, Selfridges is about to splurge £300 million in its London store, and as part of that, will build a new tunnel to link two of its buildings.

Unless you wander around the back of the department store, you might not be aware, but there is a narrow goods and deliveries road behind the store, between it and an office.

Selfridges occupies some of that office block, and part of the plans for the shop are to take some of the office space in the shop building, turn it into shop floor (more handbags!) and move the offices into Nation House behind the store. [map link]

British weather being what it is, even though the two buildings are barely a dozen yards apart, that calls for a tunnel to be dug between them so sales staff can serve customers without dripping wet hair and soggy shoes.

The plan calls for a 2-storey deep underground link to be constructed under Edwards Mews using rotary bored piled cantilever retaining walls propped by new reinforced concrete slabs at ground and basement levels.

The basements descend down 60 metres, so this could be quite a deep tunnel.

A light well in the office block will also be expanded to let some natural daylight into the tunnel.

Untitled-1

It’s only a short tunnel, but a tunnel it is, and thus of interest to tunnel geeks. Selfridges is also doubly interesting as some of the sub-sub-basement rooms were used during WW2 as telecoms control centres for communications between the British and US governments. Sadly just storage now, they are still an interesting bit of WW2 heritage.

Untitled-2

Selfridges isn’t the only department store to have its own tunnel — as Harrods has one as well linking its main department store to a nearby warehouse. They don’t seem to let tunnel geeks down there to have a look though. Alas!

NEWSLETTER

Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with:
SUPPORT THIS WEBSITE

This website has been running now for just over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, but doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether its a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what your read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

7 comments
  1. Neil says:

    Barkers in Kensington has one two linking the main building to its neighbour.

    • michael shanahan says:

      I can remember a tunnel under Kensington High Street connecting two parts of John Barker. In the 1940s Barkers extended along to the east of the intersection of the high street and Kensington Church Street and so it was possible to walk from one side to the other under the road. The thought occurs, did Barkers ( south side ) have any physical connection with the main part of the building in the westerly direction ?

  2. Hazel says:

    There’s one leading from the delivery point to the store in what is now Primark in Coventry http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/what-lies-beneath-coventrys-ironmonger-3077762

  3. Nicholas A says:

    Having worked in summer sales in a number of London department stores, I can confirm that Harrods has a network of tunnels. But I recall that Debenhams may also have a tunnel linking to to the loading dock in the old Debenham & Freebody in Wigmore St.

  4. Cogito Dexter says:

    “The basements descend down 60 metres”

    Are you sure? That’s about 20 storeys, and probably deeper than the building is tall.

    As for other buildings with tunnels, I recall (from a couple of weeks there as a child) that St Barts hospital has a veritable warren of them.

  5. Jonathan says:

    I have heard it said that Fortnums has a tunnel for direct deliveries to Buck House. Is it a myth? It sounds too good to be true …

    • ianvisits says:

      Would a modest sized department store really spend hundreds of millions of pounds — and basically bankrupt itself — to build a tunnel just so that the occasional tin of tea can be sent to the Palace covertly?

Home >> News >> Underground London