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UK Kingsway Telephone Exchange, London - Late 2013

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Thought it was about time these photos saw the light of day, it was 2 years ago now, FFS where does the time go.

A Brief history of the Kingsway exchange.

Kingsway started out life as the Chancery Lane deep shelter. This was constructed as part of the war effort to provide shelter to Londoners from the blitz, although it was never actually used for this purpose. After the war use passed to the public record office who used it for storing many tons of documents.

After several years of use for that purpose, the decision was made to adapt the shelter to become a hardened trunk exchange for the then GPO run telephone system. In order to serve this purpose the complex was vastly extended, with 4 new large diameter tunnels built to one side of the existing parallel tubes that formed the shelter.

The complex really was quite vast by the time this work was done, and in its hayday through the 50s-70's housed many tones of exchange equipment, something like 300 miles of cable, several generaters, air conditioning plant, staff facilities, kitchens etc. etc. evidence of most of this can still be seen in there to this day. By the 1980's however the importance of the facility started to decline as the telephone networks changed and evolved and by the 1990's there was very minimal equipment left in the exchange.

For a while in the late 80's part of it was used as the Kingsway computer centre which provided secure backup facilities and a paging network to parts of London. Since that ceased operation, the only real use of Kingsway has been for storage. A smalll part of it was also used briefly as the headquarters of a goverment organisation, although details on this are sketchey.

There is a fantastically detailed history on subbrit for anyone who cares to read it.

Our Explore

My memories of this evening are a little hazy, but I know it started with myself and SirJohnnyP checking out a certain well known reservoir and bumping into a few others who, as it turns out, were also heading to the same place later in the night - bonus. We actually ended up with a fairly sizeable group, think there were about 8 or 9 of us in the end, which is totally bonkers for a site like this.

We spent several hours in here. This place is vast, it's one of the largest underground complexs in London and you really can feel the size of the place when you're down there. Probably one of the best places I've ever has the opportunity to explore.

Explored with Sirjohnnyp, Raptor Jesus, Elliot and others who I forget now.

So here's my selection of photos.

Quite a lot of the complex consists of empty tunnels like these



But there's still a lot of plant in place



This one was still running







Main power distribution





The MDF (Main Distribution Frame)


Air cooling and dehumidifying plant



Some cool signs



Other bits of equipment just dotted around the place


Before the internet existed this is how businesses connected their network together.


Thanks for Looking :-)


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So much easier to photograph with the main lights on :o

The light switch is easy to find (once you know where it is of course) ;-)

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The light switch is easy to find (once you know where it is of course) ;-)

now of course i know where it is yes :)

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Quality that and well captured.

It did throw me a bit when I saw the title pop up but then clocked the date :)

Great set and nice work :thumb

Its perfectly "doable" still if someone can be bothered to put the effort in. ;-)

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