Residential Service Areas - London - 2011

In the capital, in the heart of the City, there lies a large residential estate built during the 1970's on the land once occupied by of the bombed out Victorian housing left after end of WWII. Under the estate lies a labyrinth of service tunnels containing all manor of electrical, heating, waste water and comm services; a veritable Aladdin's cave if you will. Perhaps maybe a bit to modern for your average urban explorer wanting to point their camera at something that has a historical context but if you know where to look and you want to see for yourself then there they are, yours for the taking. Just don't get caught down there.

So, lets go... 

A lot of the tunnels look like this... 


...and this.

You can travel for a long way in these tunnels but they all look much the same. Occasionally there are some very nice technical drawings scrawled onto the walls, left over from the time the pipes were laid.

The tunnels are often connected at various levels by risers, some with ladders, some without.

Some are so small it's quite a squeeze to fit through them - so I guess it was too much effort to secure the cables properly in this one.

The bend radius on these SWA cables is so gentle it's makes these fantastic shapes, almost like a racetrack. 

Up close.

One of the more interesting features are the tunnels and walkways that run around the outside of the circular ramps used by vehicles to access the basement level car parks. As usual with these kinds of spaces, a lot of shit is stored in them.

Hitting up the tourist trail.

A high level walkway... .

...and looking back up at the walkway from the next level down.

A strange anomaly, a very long, thin tunnel, quite different from the other design of tunnels. At the start of it there is an impressive amount of electrikery...

Near the end of it, quite a difficult walk. The small wall in bad repair is to prevent flooding.

The ubiquitous comms equipment also inhabit the tunnels.

And this weird German device that looks like some kind of throw back to the 1970's. It didn't seem to be active. Some early kind of broadband I think.  

Telecom engineer humour.

Eventually I stumbled in to a massive plant room, packed with various equipment, most probably the air con and heating.  

Down the stairs was more.

Someone had painted over "wanker".

Backup engines for power cuts.

R101 is also stored here.


Another huge plant room, even more equipment. Lots and lots of electrics, probably the main intake area. 

Through the door led to another connecting corridor.


Very room 101.

Back in the plant room.

Sheds loads of equipment.


Inside a vent chamber.

And finally, the lighting rig.