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Thread: The Longbridge Tunnels, Birmingham - November 2018

  1. #1
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    Default The Longbridge Tunnels, Birmingham - November 2018


    Visited back in November with Mookster after seeing the Typhoo Factory. Another one ticked off the list which has been kicking about for years. I really enjoyed this one; though quite bare and largely sealed, it had a lot of nice things to see down there. The air was pretty bad though in places!

    History - Borrowed!
    The ‘Shadow Factory Tunnels’ are what remain of Lord Austin’s secret plans that were created to increase the force of the British military against the German military aggression in the arms race that led up to the start of the Second World War.

    Munitions workers produced Merlin engines to power Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes which were used to regain control of the British skies during the 1940 Battle of Britain.

    The Shadow Scheme involved two stages; the building of nine new factories and the extension of existing factories.

    This extension included here; the Longbridge plant. Australian-born industrialist and Conservative MP, Lord Austin, whom founded Austin Motors; had already contributed to the war effort during the First World War, turning his factories to munitions and engine production.

    The tunnels which ran beneath Austin Rovers Longbridge plant are mostly all that is left of the plant; a large housing development increases in size upon the former footprint. These tunnels ensured that production of the engines and munitions could continue underground in relative safety.

    After WWII; the factory returned to producing automobiles and the tunnels were soon abandoned. By the late 60s, the plant was the second largest car plant in the world.

    After the collapse of MG Rover, the site saw its redevelopment. Famously; a mini was kept down here after workers damaged it in the 70s and it was hidden from bosses. The mini is now in a museum.

    This is a very small portion of the tunnels. Lots is bricked up

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  2. Thanks given by: etc100, jsp77, krela, Mearing, noiseboy72, oldscrote, One eyed Spaniel, RedX_unleashed, Sausage
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  4. #2
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    Very nice indeed.One interesting fact about the Meteor engine is that a cut down version was used to power the mighty Antar tank transporter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thornycroft_Antar
    To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain always a child....Cicero

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    Excellent pics nicely done!
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

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    Damn that's an interesting place! Surprised to see so much equipment still there - always good to see it like that.

    I've a few questions: How far down are the tunnels? How did workers access them? Was it an incline for them or were there huge lifts to transport materials and workers down?? Are the tunnels beneath the old factory itself or beneath the factory perimeter?

    One of those reports which creates more and more questions!!
    Thanks for sharing :)
    Full of meaty goodness.

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    Really nicely lit, great technique!

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    Very nice photos,I really envy the people who make it to there. I've been researching how to get to the tunnel entrances for a while, no joy yet, I'm off to Longbridge in April to the annual Pride Of Longbridge event, so It would be nice to go there aswell.

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    My only advice would be to bring a spade and a week of your time as it's been completely backfilled now.

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    Nice to see they are still around, nice work
    May the shadow of Murphy never darken your door."
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