UNLOCKING A SHROUDED LEGACY

Once enveloped in secrecy, subterranean tunnels in London look set to undergo an exciting development project to preserve their fascinating history, as Tom Baker reports

Historic tunnels beneath High Holborn in central London could undergo a multi-million-pound conversion into a state-ofthe-art tourist attraction and exhibition centre, providing planning permission is granted. The vision is for the former High Holborn Kingsway Exchange Tunnels to be transformed into a museum and what has been described as a unique cultural experience exploring the heritage of the city during World War Two and the Cold War.

The ambitious project, spearheaded by the London Tunnels PLC consortium, is projected to cost more than £220 million. With planning applications being considered by Camden and London City Councils at the time of writing, the tunnels could be opened to the public by 2027 and it has been estimated that the attraction will attract 2.2 million visitors a year.

The 86,000ft2 Kingsway Exchange Tunnels, situated 100ft beneath Chancery Lane tube station, were in use for 70 years and until very recently were one of the capital’s bestkept secrets.

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