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Bidston Tunnels

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Bidston Tunnels

Post by robbo_theman on Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:04 pm




Minutes of Wirral’s Civil Defence Emergency Committee in 1941 reveal that the peninsula’s skilled workforce saw it granted almost unprecedented funds to establish two deep air raid shelters, one sprawling under Tranmere under Olive Mount, Thompson Street and Holborn Hill, the other under Bidston Hill’s Rhododendron Garden, its entrance facing Hoylake Road.

Tickets were to be handed out to ensure access to residents in the event of a raid.

By June 1943 the final bill for the project was £48,006, with the corporation paying £6,510.


The tunnels were 7ft wide and 6ft 6in high with an arched roof.

A report in January 1943 advised that due to the unreliable nature of the rock, costs increased, and it was noted that the unskilled labour available had been markedly inferior to the Tranmere Shelter.

Less explosives were required in Bidston, and the spoil was tipped close to the entrance - which accounts for the rise in the ground on the grassed area near Hoylake Road.

Emergency committee minutes also reveal that during construction the project was plagued with trespassers and vandalism - not just a modern problem!

Nine-hundred-and-fifty tons of sand were sold to a contractor for building purposes.

Although it never saw the scale of use it was intended for, tickets do exist and people did shelter under Bidston, there were 2,213 bunks and 793 seats, as well as a canteen, staff dormitory, toilets, medical aid post and a ventilation shaft which could double as an emergency escape hatch.

Chair of Bidston Preservation Society, Peter Crawford, has conducted meticulous research into the shelter.

He said: “As a child I remember seeing the escape shaft building on Bidston Hill. It was a brick structure 8ft tall, and inside were a series of ladders which meant people could get out if the Rhododendron Garden entrance was hit.


“After the war it was a real problem for the police because if someone got in there and got into trouble there was very little chance of them being found - this was a structure that could house 3,000 people and it was totally dark.

“In the 1960s they saw it as a place that could be of use because of the Cold War, but there was a lot of dry rot in the timberwork.”

Peter hopes that with the right investment, Wirral could make the most of the Bidston shelter - as a tourist attraction revealing the true nature of the home front in the area.

He added: “The people working in the dockland were irreplaceable, skilled labour was vital and structures like the Bidston shelter show how seriously the threat was taken.”



As the police reports show, this was an extremely dangerous site, and it is worth pointing out to would-be adventurers that thanks to the careful application of huge amounts of concrete, the interior is utterly inaccessible.

But deep down below the medical room, the broken siren and the tunnels are still there...



A POLICE report from April 6, 1960 reads that they should “brick up completely the ventilating shaft, to weld a steel door in place and secure the inside by means of a lock.”

Earlier on April 29, 1959, officer R Gibson had written in a report: “There is nothing of value, lavatory pans and wash basins are long broken.

“Intersecting walls have been pushed down and continue to be a dangerous obstruction in the dark.


“Electrical switch gear is broken and corroded beyond repair and on one landing bay 30 feet up the emergency escape shaft the siren is so corroded it is doubtful whether it could ever be made serviceable.

“The steel ladder is in four sections and shows signs of considerable oxidisation.

“To use the emergency escape shaft one has to mount 85 rungs of the ladder to the landing bay.”

He describes the depth of the access shaft as 80ft.

“As supervisor, at this portion of the tunnel an injured or dead person could lie here undiscovered for an indeterminate length of time.

“It is not difficult to imagine how long a body could remain effectively secluded in this maze of tunnels. In view of the great danger and the uselessness of the tunnel in this condition, it is suggested that it is permanently secured.”


Do you have any memories of accessing the tunnels in the 1950s?


Last edited by THE BOSS on Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:30 am; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : ADD MAP AND TEXT)

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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by robbo_theman on Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:12 pm


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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by THE BOSS on Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:22 pm

is right robbo albino Thanks bud. Laughing


Last edited by THE BOSS on Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:05 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by THE BOSS on Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:49 pm

Some of mine.





















































































Laughing


Last edited by THE BOSS on Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by THE BOSS on Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:52 pm

./


Last edited by THE BOSS on Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:53 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by robbo_theman on Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:53 pm

Cool

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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by rhobit on Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:54 am

Some sweet shots there I hadn't seen before.

Ace mate! cheers

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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by TRANCENTRAL on Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:51 am

nice one gang sweet! lol!
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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by robbo_theman on Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:54 am








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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by THE BOSS on Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:52 pm

good shots bud cheers


how come ye can put photos up hear but not the photo room. are ye doing it the same way scratch

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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by TRANCENTRAL on Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:09 pm

nice pixs robbo
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Re: Bidston Tunnels

Post by THE BOSS on Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:59 am

a video for you all to enjoy.







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Re: Bidston Tunnels

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