Well, today I had a nice little train ride to Stockport to visit the re-opened WW2 air raid shelter tunnels. Very interesting, in view of the fact that we've recently been discussing the Tranmere tunnels. The scanned info. sheets give a lot of information, but just to point up some of the differences between Tranmere & Stockport. Overall, Stockport was not as big as Tranmere; about 1600 yards compared with 2200 yards at Tranmere. Also, they were not as deep (but at about 40 Ft., plenty enough to serve the purpose). The tunnels at Stockport are not brick lined & for the most part are not floored. The pictures show them pretty well. There were nowhere near as many bunks provided at Stockport, it was mostly seating & standing. The website is on one of the sheets. It's about 10 minutes walk from the railway station & less than 5 from the bus station. In the central area of the town, there are signposts to the tunnels. Although it was in theory a self-guided tour, in fact there was a guide giving a tour. The whole tour took about an hour, but that included taking pics. I've left some of the pics. as links in case they need enlarging.
I enjoyed it, but kept wishing that the council could be persuaded to open Tranmere. I'm pretty sure there would be government/EU money available, so, SHAME ON YOU, WIRRAL COUNCIL. Get off your ar*ses & make an effort. The recent pics. show the tunnels to be in a not disastrous state & we'd love to see them opened like Stockport.
Simon Petris has campaigned for the opening of the Tranmere deep tunnel air raid shelters in the Wirral that helped save lives during the Second World War. He is the secretary of The Friends of Tranmere Tunnels which aims to transform the tunnels into a heritage site.
The Tranmere Tunnels accommodated 6,000 people. Local miners drilled 150 feet a week and worked round the clock, removing 25,000 tonnes of sandstone. It took eight months to complete and by January 1942, the Tranmere air shelter was ready for occupation.
The tunnels had 125 miles of passage way. They were eight feet high and eight feet and six inches wide, but they were well equipped to make people as comfortable as possible. There was gas, electricity, running water and toilets. They also had canteens and even a library. Locals used go down the tunnels even when there wasn?t an air raid warning as they felt safe.
The Friends of Tranmere Tunnels (FoTT) group began four years ago. I have an interest in local History and I just got chatting to some people one day who felt the same about the tunnels. There are about 20 members in the FoTT and we think it?s so important that we do not lose this part of our History through neglect.
There are other tunnels in the country that are open to visitors: Williamson?s Tunnels in Liverpool; The Grosvenor Caving Club in north Wales; and Stockport air-raid shelters which organise tours. These groups have supported us in our campaign, and I think the Tranmere Tunnels can become a tourist attraction too.
I?m keen to raise awareness about the tunnels as there are so many people who know nothing about them. I do talks whenever I can. I speak to people in History groups, rotary clubs, women?s guilds etc. Our campaign group also collects audio recordings of people who went through this dangerous time in our History to capture their memories of the tunnels.
A view outside of the tunnelsWirral Council owns the tunnels and have said that they are unsafe and should remain sealed. We told them about the benefits of having the tunnels open for the community. I think the tunnels that are open around the country must have gone through and overcome similar problems of re-opening. So the council should be able to draw upon the experiences of others in order to get the Tranmere Tunnels open to the public.
We are passionate about the Tranmere Tunnels. We have contacted English Heritage to apply for listed status. So hopefully, getting this status would add weight to our campaign.
The next step for us is to gather support from local councillors. The council say we need to have a business plan and to do a feasibility study before they consider our proposal. This all takes money but through the support of local groups and people, we hope to win through in the end.
The war was a unique time we endured and I think it is important the role the tunnels played isn?t forgotten.
Re: SHAME ON YOU, WIRRAL COUNCIL
#245287 30th Jul 200810:27am30th Jul 200810:27am
Good work and great pictures Chris, shows what can be achieved with a bit of effort and thought,instead of the brick it up and forget if approach. All this sort of thing is part of our History and should be documented for the future.
Re: SHAME ON YOU, WIRRAL COUNCIL
#245314 30th Jul 20085:54pm30th Jul 20085:54pm