History of the Tunnels
Go deeper to discover more
For the first time, the Kingsway Exchange Tunnels will be open to the public – a new and unique opportunity to learn about London’s role in world history.
The London Tunnels, where history hides.
1940 – 1942
Designed and constructed during the Blitz as a deep-level air-raid shelter at a level under the London Underground
1944 – 1945
Occupied by Special Operations Executive during the latter stages of WWII, the location thought to have inspired Q branch in Ian Fleming’s Bond novels
General Post Office takes over occupation of the Tunnels, who at the time was also responsible for telephones as well as the postal system
The Tunnels becomes home to the UK’s termination point for TAT-1, the first transatlantic telephone cable
Kingsway Trunk Switching Centre, as the Tunnels became known, was used for a secure hotline that connected the White House to the Kremlin during the Cold War
UK Government transfers ownership of the Tunnels to British Telecom (BT)
BT announced that the tunnels were for sale
The London Tunnels is established as an operational company
BT agreed to sell the tunnels to The London Tunnels with plans to open the Tunnels to the public for the first time as a multi-sensory historical and cultural attraction
Phase 1 opening commences with Public Explorer Tours taking place pre-construction
Construction to begin of a state-of-the-art London attraction
Phase 2 opening of the Tunnels to the public with 2 million visitors experiencing curated heritage, cultural and interactive content with leading partners and local artists, museums and universities
Encourage and spark curiosity and creative thinking
The London Tunnels experience will be curated by partnerships with leading names in entertainment and technology, to inspire exploration and imagination. It will become the destination for engaging stories about the capital, and its people throughout the 20th century.
The public will be able to walk through the tunnels for the first time in 2024, built in the 1940s and designed to protect Londoners during the Blitz. With their vast scale and long corridors, there is an opportunity to not only restore but recreate; allowing visitors to experience something truly unique, and to explore broader topics across the arts, nature and sciences.