The History Deep Below Clapham Common

Posted by Dr Stephen King, Westminster Tour Guide on Friday, June 4, 2021 Under: Local History

The History Deep Below Clapham Common

Beneath south London there are a series of tunnels. They lie directly under the Northern

Line and those that used them would complain about the early morning rumble of the trains

overhead waking them up. The deep level shelters were originally conceived as much-

needed air-raid shelters and there are sections at Clapham South, North and Clapham

Common station as well as elsewhere on the line.


These were huge tunnels, where bunk beds could house 8,000 people under each station.

They had their own canteens and toilets. Each section was named after a British admiral so

you could find your way around.


Delays in construction did mean that they were not finished until after the worst of the Blitz.

Then, worried about the management costs, the government decided that rather than local

people they were to house British and then American troops. However, the arrival of the V1

and V2 rockets towards the end of the war did see them being brought back into use,

although nighttime use rarely was above a third of their overall capacity.


The original plan was later to join the tunnels and make an express train service. But this,

sadly was not to be.


The Clapham South Shelter played an important role in shaping London’s post-war

communities. The Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in 1948, carrying nearly 500

Jamaican men, responding to Britain’s call for labour to rebuild a war-torn nation. Due to

London’s housing shortage many where initially housed in the shelter and found work via the

nearest labour exchange, in Brixton, which was the origin of this neighbourhood’s important

Caribbean heritage.


The tunnels were also used for those visiting the 1951 Festival of Britain, again as London

had a shortage of hotels. Now one deep beneath Clapham is used to grow a range of very

tasty salads!

In : Local History 


Tags: world war ii  clapham  windrush 
comments powered by Disqus
 

Tags

"online bookings' cpd #earthrise 17th 1830s 18thcentury 1930s 20th 50th a abbey adele afternoon afternoon tea age ages alastair ancient and animals annie anniversary apps architecture arsenal art arts attack autumn awards baker bank bankside barbican barrier bathhouses battersea bazalgette bear beasts becket bells bexley bishopsgate black blackfriars blitz bloomsbury bombers book books borough bowie breakfast brewery brick bridge britain british bronze bronze age brunch buckingham burger burlesque buses cab cabaret cake canal canary captain carl carol caroline carols cathedral cemetery cenotaph century chapman charles charlton cheap cheapside cheese childhood chips chiswick chocolate christmas church city city of london clapham clerkenwell cocktails coffee coffeehouses common company concert corporate covent covent garden covid-19 cream crime cross crown cruise crystal danson david davy day december deptford dick dickens dinner dinosaurs do dock dockland museum dragons dreamtime druitt earth east eat eating eats ecommerce edward edwardians edwin egypt elizabethan end engineering ernst event events exhibition exhibitions facebook fairytale fall family fantastic farringdon fashion february festival film finance fire first fiscus florence folklore food for francis free friars gallery galliard garden george georgian georgians german germany gibb gift globe grade great greenhithe greenwich group guided guides gun half hall halsk handel harle harry potter hats havering havering hoard hawksmoor hazel heroes hidden highbury hill hilton history holloway homes hot hotel house housing how humphry i ian ianmcd ice ice cream icelandic ii iii in india inigo isaac islington italian iv jack jack the ripper jack's james jenny jewels john johns jones joseph katharines kelly kenneth kew gardens kids kidstours killer kim king kings kingston lambeth lane lewis lights limestone literature liverpool locations londinium london london bridge london's londoners londonhistory lunch lutyens macaulay magnus management maritime market markets martyr mary matilda maufe mayfair mcdiarmid measure medical medieval memorial middle military millennium mock-tudor modern modernist montague month monument moorgate mosaic murder murderers museum museum of london docklands music musicals mystery n7 national gallery national history museum ned new newcomen news newton nhs nichols night nightingale nurse of old street oliver open opera paddington palace palaces pancakes pandemic panoramic park parties path pauls people philip photo photograhy photography photos pizza places plague plantation plays plumstead podcast poetry pokemon polly poor pop poplar port prince priory private tours pub public pubs purbeck qe2 queen queenhithe quirky recording regency reid religion rembrandt renaissance restoration ripper river road rob roman romans roundhouse royal saga saints salute saxon school. science sculpture scupture seacole second serial servants sewers shakespeare shoreditch siemens sir slave slavery small smartphone smith smithfield smithfields soap soho somme south southbank southwark spitalfields spy squirrels ss st statue stories stow street stuart stuarts studios subscription suffragettes sugar summer susan sydenham tate taxi tea ten term terror thames thamesmeade the theatre thiepval things things to do thrifty thriftytheatre to tour tours tower trade travel truman tudor tudors tumblety twelfth twentieth twist und underground update v&a ve victims victoria victorian victorian london victorians viking virtual vouchers wales walk walking walks wall war water werner west wharf wheeler whitechapel wilde wildlife willelm william windrush wine winter women wood woodland woolwich world wyatt york zachary 1666 1888 2019 2020

LONDON GUIDED WALKS:

LEARN MORE:

CONNECT WITH US:

USEFUL LINKS:

Site by Hazel  |  Photographs by Hazel or Ian