The Darkness of Drakelow – By Penny Griffiths-Morgan

Drakelow Tunnels tunnel
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The Darkness of Drakelow Tunnels

For a place whose name roughly translates to “Dragons Mound”, it is perhaps not surprising that it has seen its fair share of weirdness and loss. Picture a place that is more akin to a labyrinth of confusing tunnels, strange looking rooms that could have been anything from a canteen, to an X ray room to an office belonging to middle management.

May I introduce to you Drakelow Tunnels near Kidderminster, one of possibly my favourite locations which I have ever visited.

If you would like to read more about my experiences in this underground complex, then please get hold of a copy of my book, My Haunted History, available HERE, but for this piece, I will be focusing on the background and why this huge construction came to be.

Back in November of 1940, England was in the midst of heavy bombing attacks from the Germans and one of these campaigns had decimated the city of Coventry and the Government realised that with so many of their factories in one place, this could really hinder production of aircraft parts and other vital components to the war effort.  To counter this, they proposed shadow factories that would run alongside their larger counterparts and be ready to be powered into action if a bomb was to render the main building inoperable.

Sadly Drakelow never saw fulfilment of its destiny as a manufacturer for Rover aircraft engine parts as the construction was beset with problems. The most traumatic of these incidents was when a roof collapsed in late October 1941, killing three of the workers.

3 killed in tunnel roof collapse A MARRIED man with 14 x children, believed to come from Wolverhampton, and who only started work with the firm to-day, is one of three feared killed when the rock roof of a tunnel on a factory estate near Kidderminster collapsed to-day. Several other men working in the tunnel were injured and taken to hospital.
Evening Dispatch 1st November 1941

These were not the only deaths to happen in the 3 and half miles of tunnels sadly, although none were as a result of enemy shelling and whilst the factory was still used for the manufacture of engines for the Bristol Aeroplane Company  and then following the end of the Second World War, to produce engines for tanks rather than aircraft, its days in industry were numbered.

After its use as a factory was to become redundant, it was re purposed as a nuclear bunker and shared its Regional Headquarters duties for the Midlands with nearby Swynnerton, a former WW2 Royal Ordnance Filling Factory. If history is your thing, there are a few incredibly informative books which explain many of the nuclear installations dotted around the UK, their different uses and purpose in the event of the button being pressed. The plan for sites like Drakelow (and Kelvedon Hatch in Essex for example) was as regional headquarters, authorisation from London would be automatically granted to local government, each ensconced in their bunkers, accompanied by some military protection and representatives from all the different arms of society needed for the smooth running of a country the Post Office, Oil, Gas and the suchlike.

Us mere mortals would be left to survive on the outside. and listen to their broadcasts giving instructions as to how exactly to do that and keep morale up.

If this blog which merely touches on the events that the stone of Drakelow has seen is enough to entice you to want to visit, would it interest you even further to know that there are still parts of the structure which are bricked up and even the volunteers are reluctant to break into…..

You can catch Penny every week on Parasearch Radio podcast with her show “Haunted Histories” www.parasearch.org 

Find out for yourself. Go Ghost Hunting at Drakelow Tunnels with Haunted Houses Events – HERE 

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