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  1. History “If you hear water coming, grab a chain and hope for the best†– Punk. After the Second World War, like most other major towns and cities across Britain, Leicester was widely redeveloped; these were partly reconstruction efforts, alongside the much wider movement to improve the country as a whole. As part of the rehousing initiative, many new affordable homes were built and the road systems in and around the city were improved. At the time, Thurmaston, where the culvert is located, was a small village located just outside Leicester. However, as the city has expanded radically, it is now considered to be an urban suburb area. By the late 1950s a new ring road was proposed for the Thurmaston area, to ease traffic congestion. But, during construction it was discovered that the area was at a high risk of being flooded. The area in the photograph displayed above, at the bottom of Melton Road, was often referred to as ‘the Leicester Lagoon’ or a Venetian suburb. Subsequently, a storm relief culvert was created beneath the new road, to take excess water from Melton Brook to the River Soar in Watermead Park. The culvert is based on a simple concrete design, because it had to be positioned in haste to avoid delays in the construction of the road. The entire tunnel runs for about 1.2 miles and had a diameter of approximately 2.2 metres. Despite the countermeasures against flooding back in the 50s, the area has still not fully escape the threat since a water main burst back in December 2012 and consequently a number of houses were affected. Our Version of Events We’d only been in Leicester a few hours and, after having been shown ‘The Golden Mile’, with its endless rows of jewellery shops and takeaways, we decided that it would be safer underground. Apparently there’s as much gold there as Fort Knox (I’m exaggerating, but there is an awful lot of gold lying around). Anyway, it’s an incredibly dodgy looking area with some even dodgier looking folk wandering around. It seems like the sort of place you can climb into a construction site, up a lamppost perhaps, or into an abandoned building and no one bats an eyelid; and we did indeed do all of these things to test this theory. Finding our way to the culvert wasn’t particularly difficult, and we didn’t have far to walk to reach the entrance; which is always a good thing whist rocking the waders. The actual entry was less alluring, however, since we had to navigate our way through a few nettles and brambles to reach the brook itself. Like warriors in waders (and wellies) though, we made it. Thereafter it was easy going, since all we had to do was follow the shallow brook up to the tunnel entrance. The evening that ensued was an entertaining one, as we tried a few different light art techniques we’ve never really bothered with before. Although, it wasn’t until afterwards that we realised how long this culvert actually is; all I can say is that it was an exceptionally long walk back to the car. It was the early hours of the morning when we finally arrived back at the UrbexLodge, ready for a 15 inch pizza and a bevvy or two. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Soul and KM_Punk. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:

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