Community group launches ambitious bid to open Bidston tunnels to the public
Sep 30 2009 by Lorna Hughes, Birkenhead News
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AN ambitious project has been launched to open a network of tunnels under Bidston Hill
to the public.
Wirral was given funds to establish two deep air raid shelters in 1941, one in Tranmere and another under Bidston Hill
’s Rhododendron Garden, its entrance facing Hoylake Road.
The Bidston shelter had 2,213 bunks and 793 seats, as well as a canteen, staff dormitory, toilets, medical aid post and a ventilation shaft which could double as an emergency escape hatch.
The tunnels, which were 7ft wide and 6ft 6in wide, were rarely used and the entrance was eventually sealed up.
Now consultants have been asked by a Bidston community group to look at how the shelters could be brought back into use as a tourist attraction.
Peter Crawford, of Bidston Preservation Trust, said: “Our plan would be for the rhododendron garden to become a memorial garden to all those killed during the war.
“Hopefully we would be able to open up little sections inside the tunnels and recreate it as it would have looked
“It would be easier to open the Bidston tunnels than the ones in Tranmere because there is no industry. We have got open space in front of them and you could get people in. I think it would be stunning and there’s huge potential to turn it into a tourist attraction.
“We’re very determined and we want to see them brought back into use.”
Mr Crawford said it was too early to say how much the project would cost.
In the 1960s the shelter was considered as a place that could be of use because of the Cold War, but there was a lot of dry rot in the timberwork, and it has lain unused ever since.
Bidston councillor Jim Crabtree, who remembers playing in the tunnels as a child, said the idea of opening the shelter as a tourist attraction was originally suggested in 1984.
He said: “The tunnels are absolutely huge and it was built in a big H-shape.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea.”