GES215 - Cambridge Circus Utility Tunnels, London
I stopped exploring utility tunnels for a couple of reasons, namely that they were repetitive and that you could never really tell where the hell you were. The tunnels would just end with the cables going into a wall, and you wouldn't know where you'd reached in the above ground world. My mind was changed when GE079 found an entrance into the network based around Cambridge C!rcus. I was particularly interested in this section, because it would lead to an oddity, namely Little C0mpton Street.
We'd heard from other explorers that they'd had grief from a restaurant near the access point, but we managed to get in and out later on fine. Once down the tunnels looked to have the same similar look to them. But after 50m we came across the site seen in the picture below. A narrow walkway went to a walled off section just ahead, with a spur that lead into a shaft to an area below. And then the set of steps seen here lead down to a sort of subway section.
The subway section, made up of steel bars and tube-like tunnels. Shot taken was at the bottom of the stairs above.
As the bottom of the stairs was this side junction, adding to the maze like feel of the place.
Going down the steps above, lead to another tunnel similar to the one we'd left, but no lights were on. I walked down it and it had steps up at the end, they lead to a locked steel lid that would have been in the street somewhere.
I went back to where the Cranbourn St sign was in the first subway, and walked about 50m and we met steps going back up to the original level. The subway was there to divert the tunnels and it's contents down to avoid something. Either a sewer or the Piccadilly line. Although one would have thought the subway section was too shallow for that.
Up the top of the steps, and the tunnel took on the usual brick lined passage. It lead not much further on, to a crossroads. The tunnels went in different directions, taking the one straight ahead lead to my main goal.
In the middle of Charing Cross Road, just north of Cambridge C!rcus, there is a grill through which you can see a sign for Little Compt0n Street. There used to be a Litlle Compt0n Street here, but it was removed by the Charing Cross Road. The sign was preserved in the tunnels which run underneath the street.
The rest of the tunnels looked uninteresting in this direction, so we went back to the crossroads and took a different direction. This too proved to be monotonous. So back we went to the crossroads to try the final direction. This one proved to be far more interesting. It lead off down Shaftesbury Avenue to Piccadilly Circus. I'd always been curious about a metal lid that sat in the middle of the road on Shaftesbury Avenue, It always looked rather precarious as cars ran over it. This is the view from beneath that lid.
Somewhere towards the end of Shaftesbury Avenue, we came to some steps that lead down. We had come to Piccadilly Circus. The upper tunnel seen at the top of the picture below, ended 10m from the steps here.
At the bottom of the steps, a sign confirmed where we were. The steel ribbed tunnel pointed to the fact we were deep underground. The passage here formed a square, with 4 equal sides. We weren't sure what it went around. Either the Piccadilly Circus Tube Station, or another possibility was a rumoured street cctv monitoring base, that was thought to be under Piccadilly Circus.
The miss-match of pipes, girders and cable shelves at the bottom of the stairs from Shaftesbury Av.
At the furthest point from the stairs, another set of steps lead up to a caged ladder. We didn't bother going up, but apparently it lead to a street lid.
Looking down the steps 180 degrees from the shot above.
The cables running down the back straight of the square that we were walking around.
Walking back to where we'd started, the steps up to Shaftesbury Avenue, we set off back to the subway section and then out into the surface world. We successfully managed to avoid attracting the attention of the restaurant. Thank to GE063.