Category Archives: Original Content
We’ve touched on this previously and I’ve came across some new photo’s. Those that don’t know…
Anchor was constructed during the mid 1950s and kept a secret by Government Act for 15 years
Anchor Exchange in the 1950s. Picture: BT Archives
Approximately 35 metres beneath the streets of Birmingham lays the remnants of a 1950s hardened telephone exchange, designed to house emergency regional government and sustain Britain’s telecommunications network following a nuclear attack.
Code-named Anchor after Birmingham’s jewellery hallmark, it remains as a largely unknown and forgotten part of the city’s Cold War heritage.
Shrouded in mystery, for public safety, the subterranean nuclear bunker stretches out beneath the city, with tunnels extending from the Jewellery Quarter to Southside and far beyond. There are a number of entrances to the tunnels across the city, but these are still kept secret and are securely sealed for the foreseeable future.
The Post and Associated Architects were granted exclusive access by BT for the first time since the 90s.
Anchor was constructed during the mid 1950s and kept a secret by Government Act for 15 years. The public were informed it was a new underground rail network, which had eventually been shelved.
There are no records locally of the construction of the tunnels and it wasn’t until it was declassified that journalists were first allowed access.
To access the tunnels a long metal staircase leads down from street level. At the bottom of the staircase a giant steel blast door marks the entrance to the tunnel network, which could be sealed off in the event of an atomic bomb.
Beyond the door a corridor connects a series of huge cavernous concrete tunnels that once would have housed massive generators and plant equipment to provide power, fresh air and water, keeping the Telephone Exchange operational for several months.
The Exchange itself would have been in the upper-most level, on standby, in case the need ever arose. It contained enormous banks of telecommunications equipment that would have been operated by just 20 trained managers.
By the 70s and 80s advances in communications technology rendered much of the equipment obsolete. Most of the equipment has now been removed due to asbestos regulations but many of the old rooms remain, such as a canteen and a mess room, which would have once contained pool tables.
These eerie, empty spaces offer a taster for what life in the tunnels might have been like.
The tunnels still remain in operation, if only to house the miles and miles of vital cables that keep the city’s communication network functioning.
For the safety of workers who maintain the remaining equipment, the tunnels have been modified to meet current regulations with the addition of regular fire compartmentation.
Today, due to the city’s rising water table, water has to be continuously pumped out of the tunnels and at the lowest point, some 50 metres below ground level, the echo of continuously gushing of water can be heard.
Anchor remains an endless source of speculation and the full extent of the below ground operations may never be known. Nonetheless, the incredible feat of engineering that is the Anchor Telephone Exchange is a chilling reminder of the intense global tensions during the Cold War.
To think at one point we all thought we were going to get a new tube system…
If your not following @twentyfoursevenn then you need to, I’m a huge fan of this mans photo’s he gets plots, great photos and we caught up with him…
The ”adventurous” lifestyle of mine is one i do hold close.
Some people take this as a hobby, but for me it’s my life. I spend days on end without sleep, editing photos running around different cities, from rooftops to the depths of the subway system is where i’ll more than likely be found. For me i was doing this since 2009, all started with me a couple of curious friends who decided to run down the subway tracks. We use to do it day in day out non stops scaling some of the biggest roofs in the city. When i say we i mean the UxG crew (me and a few close friends) just a bunch of guys that like exploring. A normal day for me does vary, i tend to plan it but things never work out that way, due to security places being locked etc. Nonetheless i do my best to scale what i can before other people find it so i can be sort of ”original” in a way. I tend to work alone most of the time, i do prefer my own company, but when with the crew it’s 10 times more fun.
Beers and a roof on a sunday, lookin’ over the city you love. Nothings beats it.