NEWS

Clapham South Secret Underground Bunker Pictures Show Life In London During The Nazi Blitz

18/01/2016 17:13 | Updated 19 January 2016

A labyrinth of subterranean tunnels beneath London’s Clapham South Tube station that offered shelter to local residents during the Blitz is to be opened to the public.

The passageways, which were regularly used by 8,000 people during Nazi raids on the capital, have been turned into an exhibition by Transport for London and the London Transport Museum, which will open to the public in March.

Sitting more than 100 feet below the surface, visitors will scale 180 steps down to the maze. The Clapham South bunker was one of eight air raid shelters built across London, including excavations at Chancery Lane station, Belsize Park, Camden Town, Goodge Street, Stockwell, Clapham North and Clapham Common.

Between September 1940 and May 1941, London was attacked with high explosives from the air 71 times. The Luftwaffe also targeted 15 other cities, including Coventry, Hull, Liverpool and Glasgow. Germany eventually moved away from the strategic bombing of the UK, but not before 1 million London homes had been damaged or destroyed, while some 40,000 Britons perished in the raids.

After the war, the tunnels were turned into accommodation for immigrants.

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  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A worker makes his way down the stairs into the Clapham South shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A Transport for London worker operates the original still functioning lift at the Clapham South shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A man walks between two shelters in the shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Walking through the recreation and games room.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A man walks down a large shelter tunnel.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Old archive boxes lie covered in mould.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Rusty fuse boxes lie in the depths of the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Graffiti from soldiers and members of the public who took shelter during World War II is seen on the ceiling above bunk beds.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Grafitti from soldiers and members of the public who took shelter during World War II.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Grafitti from soldiers and members of the public who took shelter during World War II is seen on the ceiling above bunk beds at Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Rusty fuse boxes lie in the depths of the deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Signs to shelters named after senior British naval officers at the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Old archive boxes lie covered in mould at the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Signs to shelters named after senior British naval officers at the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A sign pointing to the way out at the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Signs to shelters named after senior British naval officers at the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A Transport for London worker walks through the recreation and games room at the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    The fuse box next to where the buffet and food were served.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Rusty fuse boxes lie in the depths of the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Dials and telephones are still in place in the control room.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A Transport for London worker walks through the recreation and games room.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A sign to the control room is seen on the wall.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Telephones are still in place in the control room.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Signs to shelters named after senior British naval officers.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    A sign pointing to the way out at the Clapham South deep-level shelter.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Old archive boxes lie covered in mould and dust.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    Bunk beds are displayed in their original rooms.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    An entrance to Clapham South deep-level shelter seen from street level, which will be open for public tours when London Transport Museum releases tickets in March.
  • Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images
    An entrance to Clapham South deep-level shelter seen from street level.
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