Anchor Telephone Exchange, Birmingham

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callumcrom00

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I was up in Birmingham a few months back. After checking out and exploring a few other underground locations in the City, I decided to check out and give the infamous Anchor Bunker/Tunnel system a shot.

The bunker is one of the three hardened underground telephone exchanges, Kingsway in London, Anchor in Birmingham and Guardian in Manchester, there is rumoured to be one in Glasgow and one in Liverpool.

We managed to get in part of the complex, where the security office and passenger lifts by the time we reached the tunnels BT security along with Armed Police turned up in no time. We were escorted out of the site and asked us what we were doing, the police were nice about it. We explained and they had taken our details, and then we were let go, turns out the CCTV on all the shafts/entry are watched 24/7.

Here are a few pics I had taken. I wish I had more time.

I will try this location again in the future...

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The Ventilation Shafts

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The Goods Lift Shaft
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That's awesome, great little explore. I hope you get further in next time and manage to snap some tunnel pics.
 
Not seen the little security office before, nice. No pics of the tunnels?

The rumours of one in Glasgow are just that - rumours. No such thing!
 
The rumours of one in Glasgow are just that - rumours. No such thing!

Really? I wonder how that squares with the photos and drawings of Dial House and the Bath Street cable tunnels that are online, if you care to Google... :rolleyes:
 
Really? I wonder how that squares with the photos and drawings of Dial House and the Bath Street cable tunnels that are online, if you care to Google... :rolleyes:
Got any photos to back this up? Love to see them if so. Cable tunnels are not hardened deep-level exchanges and neither are basements of Dial/Telephone houses… most large cities in the UK have BT deep level tunnels and Glasgow is indeed no exception to this, but the rumours of it having an underground exchange similar to Brum, Manc and London are false. If I’m wrong then I’ll buy you a pint
 
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Thanks for the offer of a pint. :)

There are a few sources:
1. A thread on Hidden Glasgow which after dozens of pages of blethers had photos of the cable tunnels being driven and mentioned a hardened switching centre.
2. Photos posted on another Scottish exploring forum about 4 years ago showed the cable tunnels from Hope St to Blythswood Sq and a chamber in the Pitt Street area the discoverer claimed had been the Glasgow trunk exchange. Lots of cable trays and racking, but with the telecoms kit removed. Not my photos so can't prove or disprove that.
3. Plus there's info on Dial House in the Mitchell Library and Cold War comm's maps in the Secret Bunker at Troy Wood.

According to the SubBrit site and the copy/paste on the Wikipedia page about Anchor - "a fourth one was rumoured to exist in Glasgow, but no evidence of this has been found". That just means it was too far north for Nick Catford & Co to pursue… but others have…

BTW, "hardened" depends on your definition of hardened construction – Dial House in Glasgow goes down 7 storeys below street level and IIRC from drawings I saw, the lower sub-basements are reinforced concrete with 12" thick floor slabs with several layers of BRC structural mesh. Normal practice in those days would be 7 or 8" thick with A252 top and bottom mesh only. I work in the construction industry so I have a clue what I'm talking about. :)
 
It's well documented that construction on the Glasgow one began, but was abandoned after the completion of the bore holes.
 
That's interesting, thanks. I'd like to learn more about the truth since as you know there's lots of speculation out there - whereabouts is the history documented, please?
 
Thanks for the offer of a pint. :)

There are a few sources:
1. A thread on Hidden Glasgow which after dozens of pages of blethers had photos of the cable tunnels being driven and mentioned a hardened switching centre.
2. Photos posted on another Scottish exploring forum about 4 years ago showed the cable tunnels from Hope St to Blythswood Sq and a chamber in the Pitt Street area the discoverer claimed had been the Glasgow trunk exchange. Lots of cable trays and racking, but with the telecoms kit removed. Not my photos so can't prove or disprove that.
3. Plus there's info on Dial House in the Mitchell Library and Cold War comm's maps in the Secret Bunker at Troy Wood.

According to the SubBrit site and the copy/paste on the Wikipedia page about Anchor - "a fourth one was rumoured to exist in Glasgow, but no evidence of this has been found". That just means it was too far north for Nick Catford & Co to pursue… but others have…

BTW, "hardened" depends on your definition of hardened construction – Dial House in Glasgow goes down 7 storeys below street level and IIRC from drawings I saw, the lower sub-basements are reinforced concrete with 12" thick floor slabs with several layers of BRC structural mesh. Normal practice in those days would be 7 or 8" thick with A252 top and bottom mesh only. I work in the construction industry so I have a clue what I'm talking about. :)
Interesting sources, thanks for sharing. I guess I need to reconsider my description of 'hardened'. I'll read up on information about Glasgow's Dial House as am largely going off personal experiences from exploring the tunnels and basement a while ago; at the time it didn't feel that deep but it must have been.

I also read the above, and other comments made on other forums etc, as stating that Glasgow has something of the same design and size as Kingsway/Anchor/Guardian and I maintain that such a thing does not exist. Perhaps, however, it does have something more interesting than other cities in the way of unusual underground deep-level spaces, but this could only be under Dial House as the main network of deep-level cable tunnels is just that. There's talk in a book I've read which suggests one exists in Bristol too but information is scarce to existent on this so am rather skeptical!
 
The UK Parliament archives, 21 Oct 1968 is one such official reference. I've seen other references to it while researching Cardiff too, but can't seem to find them now. It's been many years since I was last looking in to them.
Thanks, I hadn't thought to look at Hansard.

Seffy - no problem. I haven't been in the tunnels myself, but know others who have and trust what they said. However, I have dug for info in various places, and like you say the tunnels in Glasgow are supposedly similar in several ways to Kingsway, Anchor and Guardian. Plus they built a protected repeater station at Holmbrae Rd in Uddingston which IIRC served the same function as Lyndon Green did for Anchor. It also picked up the Glasgow - Dundee circuits that ran to Craigowl radio station (the northern end of the Backbone chain) which is local to me, hence my interest.
 
I think I was still wearing nappies when The Radges first bust their way into the Glasgow exchange. They're at the top of their game and have the pictures to prove it.
 
Ah the Radge Crew. Now then, I could tell you lads a thing or two about the fabled Radge Crew. A group consistently at the top of their game. They are indeed the numbers 1 top urbex crew.
 
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