world : Opening up London's 'James Bond' spy tunnels

world : Opening up London's 'James Bond' spy tunnels
world : Opening up London's 'James Bond' spy tunnels

Thursday 13 June 2024 08:45 AM

Nafeza 2 world - Tunnels beneath the streets of London could soon be opened up to the public as part of plans to create a vast tourist attraction in the capital.

Some 8,000 sq m of tunnels that run under High Holborn were built in 1942 as an air raid shelter to provide protection during the Blitz.

Later, they were used as a home for the British spy organisation, the Special Operations Executive.

The labyrinth, known as the Kingsway Tunnels, featured in the first James Bond novel. The tunnels have remained unused since they were decommissioned in 1990.

The plans were approved by the City of London Corporation on Tuesday, but Camden Council still has to approve them.

A history and heritage section would “curate the history of the site through a historic timeline by displaying the retained and restored telecommunications equipment".

The plans also include educational facilities, exhibition spaces and an underground bar.

The submission notes the tunnels could also be used to host exhibitions on themes "such as James Bond".

The space is expected to be able to accommodate hundreds of people at a time, leading to an estimated £60-£80m of additional expenditure in the area each year, according to those behind the project.

Free visits are also to be offered to London schools, with a minimum of 40 children expected each week.

Angus Murray, chief executive at the London Tunnels, described the proposal as “a restoration of an existing asset".

He said there was a "tremendous story" to be told, including that of the London Blitz, adding that the project would deliver financial benefits and align with the City’s local plans, such as the City Plan 2040 and Destination City.

Camden Council is due to hear the application in July.

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