The BBC’s back-up base in WWII was a Bristol railway tunnel, as seen in this video.


The BBC’s back-up base in WWII was a Bristol railway tunnel, as seen in this video.

An urban explorer has documented a long-abandoned railway tunnel that housed the BBC’s backup broadcasting center during WWII.

The Clifton Rocks Railway tunnel in Bristol, which opened in 1893, was the world’s widest at the time of its construction.

The tunnel was repurposed as an air raid shelter, a council document archive, and a hub for the BBC if its London headquarters, Broadcasting House, were destroyed after it fell out of use in the 1920s.

Now, explorer Urbanexboi has revealed the tunnel’s current sorry state.

Photos and video show water-filled corridors, arched rooms crammed with rusted boxes, and doors labeled ‘police’ and ‘archives.’

Because it was deep enough underground to avoid German bombs, the tunnel was used during the war.

When it was reopened, the tunnel was converted into a series of rooms with blast-proof walls.

Residents of Bristol sought refuge there from the onslaught from the air, allowing them to stay out of harm’s way as the city was heavily bombed.

Repairing barrage balloons, which were used to keep dive bombers from getting close enough to cause havoc, took up some of the rooms.

Despite the fact that the BBC had facilities in Bristol and elsewhere in the country, the decision to make part of the complex the BBC’s emergency centre was made.

However, it was decided that the broadcasting equipment should be kept safe in the deep tunnel, allowing the BBC to continue to operate and contribute to maintaining morale.

Despite the fact that Broadcasting House was damaged by two bombs during the war, it was never completely shut down, implying that the Bristol station was never required.

The BBC staff, who took over the lower levels of the complex, had a canteen and proper flushing toilets, whereas ordinary Bristolians had to make do with buckets and basic washing facilities next door.

According to Urbanexboi, these still exist.

The BBC kept the backup service running until 1960, despite the fact that it was never used during the war or afterwards.

The cost of renting the space from the Bristol authorities eventually became too high, and the BBC vacated the complex.

The fittings have rotted and the rooms have been vandalized since then.

‘The discovery was both amazing and sad because the council has…’ said Urbanexboi.

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