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Mailbox tunnel. September 2015.

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History

Up until the late 60's, the royal mail parcel and lettering sorting offices were based in two buildings on Victoria Square, connected by a bridge spanning Hill Street, where they had been housed for almost 80 years. In 1970, a new, purpose-built, sorting office was constructed on the site of a former railway goods yard, adjacent to canal wharfs of the Birmingham and Worcester canal.Not only was it the largest building in Birmingham at the time, it was also the largest mechanised letters and parcels sorting office in the country. Coincident to this, the House of Commons passed a bill allowing an underground connection to be made between the new sorting office and New Street Station. A 400m long tunnel was constructed beneath Severn Street, which extended the existing underground tunnels at the station that already connected to the Victorian sorting office on Victoria Square.Upon completion, small electric trucks known as 'brutes' were able to pull cages full of mailbags straight off the trains, along the secure passageway, directly into the impenetrable structure of the sorting office.From there a network of lifts, chutes and conveyor belts distributed the mail through the building.It is rumoured that because the link was so secure, jewellers across the city would post their diamonds to themselves on a Friday evening, as it was cheaper than storing them in a vault over the weekend. Some of the other remaining mail tunnels, which sit below the platforms of New Street Station, are to be reopened as staff tunnels, allowing fast access from one side of the new station to the other. In 2011, the building was sold to Brockton Capital in a joint venture with Milligan and is currently undergoing renovation works, due to complete in spring 2015. These works represent another new chapter for the site.

The Visit

I got given a great opportunity to see these tunnels, so I headed down with a non member and we had a great time. Although it was only one tunnel, you had a great sense of what actually went on years ago. It was good to do something underground, as i'm usually up high or inside a hospital/manor :cool::D. only thing i'd have to say about this place is it was abit weird to see parts of a huge Christmas tree down there!

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Thanks for looking:cool:

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