- July 2021:
- June 2018:
- January 2018:
- November 2017:
- October 2017:
- September 2017:
- July 2017:
- Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange
- Picc-Vic: Proposed Route
- UMIST Tunnels
- Victoria Arches / Cathedral Steps
- Dukes Tunnel
- Haweswater Aqueduct
- Thirlmere Aqueduct
Here each feature in the map is listed by the layer it belongs to.
Manchester Coalfield used to have significant workings, extensively at Bradford Colliery (now the site of the City of Manchester Stadium). The slanted geology of the area means that there is plenty of coal at quite shallow depths.
Bradford Colliery Workings 📍 View on map
Roughly plotted from 1966 map in Manchester Underground (Warrender, 2007:114).
Bradford Colliery 📍 View on map
Bradford Colliery closed in 1968 and the site is now the City of Manchester Stadium.
Bradford Hall 📍 View on map
Read more about Bradford Colliery on East Manchester: Its 19th century development and the role of the Derbyshire limestone industry.
Coal Pit 📍 View on map
Read more about Bradford Colliery on East Manchester: Its 19th century development and the role of the Derbyshire limestone industry.
Coal Tunnel to Stuart Street Power Station 📍 View on map
After 1947 a 460-yard (420 m) tunnel 55 yards (50 m) below ground level was driven to the Stuart Street Power Station, to provide coal direct from the colliery. A conveyor within the tunnel delivered 200 long tons (224 short tons) of small coal an hour to the power station's bunker.
Medlock Hall 📍 View on map
To read more about Bradford Colliery on East Manchester: Its 19th century development and the role of the Derbyshire limestone industry.
Known as the Worsley Navigable Levels, these 46 miles of underground canal tunnels were built by the various Dukes of Bridgewater and James Brindley. They are split across multiple levels and allowed coal to be brought to the surface and transported into Manchester. The underground routes are taken from a combination of sources (1, 2, 3, 4) which do no entirely agree, so they should be considered approximate.
Manchester’s superstar feature… its cold war hardened telephone exchange covers a significant area and has a fascinating history.
The Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange (GUTE) also known as ‘Scheme 567’ is a 1950s nuclear-hardened facility designed to safeguard cold war communications. It is one of three such exchanges, the others being Birmingham’s Anchor exchange and London’s Kingsway exchange.
Many of these features relate to long gone buildings in Manchester city centre, where basements, tunnels and storage chambers were often joined.
Barton arcade was one of the first buildings to be built on the newly widened Deansgate in 1871 after all the buildings on the east side of the road were demolished in 1869. It is a grade 2 listed historic building and was built by Corbett, Raby & Sawyer. There exists a large undercroft underneath the arcade which may well predate it, and there is evidence of this space linking up with other spaces or tunnels. This was the location of the Haunted Underworld tour, and is now being converted into a restaurant establishment, so you should be able to have a nosey yourselves when it opens. See some photos below from Flickr user TVurbex.
Castle and Falcon Pub 📍 View on map
Rumoured that there was a passage from the cellar to the Cathedral.
Chetham's Well 📍 View on map
Reported in the City News, 1915 that a passageway was discovered around 1842 between here and the Cathedral.
Cross Street Chapel 📍 View on map
Numerous burials were made at this location. In 2015 tram line excavations required the burials on this site to be moved. Around 120 bodies were expected to be found, but after seven months (four longer than the three months allocated) 270—more than double the number of bodies were exhumed and relocated to Southern Cemetery.
Under 22 Old Millgate a vaulted 'crypt' 30 feet below street level, accessed through the cellar. An advert appeared in the Manchester Guardian in 1903 offering the chance to view the crypt. See Manchester Underground (Warrender, 2007:90). The space was below property owned by W. G. Ponter at 20–22 Old Millgate although it is described as Watson’s shop in this image in the Manchester archives.
The 1928 Midland / HSBC on King Street designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens has an underground vault. The building is currently Jamie Oliver’s Italian and the vault was preserved as a basement dining room. The toilets downstairs (featuring authentic Thomas Crapper toilets) were the safety deposit box inspection rooms for customers. There was quite a haul of valuables removed before Jamie Oliver moved in, including Joy Division master tapes and a gun.
Lewis's Basement Canal 📍 View on map
There was a recreation of a Venetian scene in the basement on gondola on a 2ft deep ‘canal’. Manchester Underground (Keith Warrender, 2007:61).
As a point of interest the fifth floor still has a grand ballroom. To read more see Skyliner’s post on Lewis’s.
Mancunian Way Hole 📍 View on map
Speculation that the cause of the hole was a previously unknown Victorian culvert in the Manchester Evening News. The possibility of the culvert supplying a pond in Ardwick Green is discussed on Groundsure
Market Place 📍 View on map
Mitre Hotel 📍 View on map
Has a tunnel underneath at the original street level, where the pub used to sit (Underground Manchester - Keith Warrender, 2007).
Moston Cottage 📍 View on map
A tunnel is remembered to exist in this area, beneath Moston Cottage (built 1713), and accessed through other properties. Rumoured to extend to the Cathedral and used as transport for catholics during persecution.
An old forum post suggests there were an old set of public toilets closed off during the sixties.
Old Guardian newspaper building 📍 View on map
On this site the Manchester Guardian was printed.
Original Arndale Streets 📍 View on map
Palace Hotel 📍 View on map
Basement and sub basement contain extensive entertainment facilities once used as a shelter.
Piccadilly Gents Toilets 📍 View on map
Approximate location of the old public toilets and hairdresser apparently still present (albeit hidden) in Piccadilly Station. You used to have to go down steps which have apparently simply been covered over.
You can see the entrance at the back of this image from Manchester Libraries collection.
Started in 1788, consecreted in 1794 and demolished in 1907, James Wyatt’s St Peter’s Church had 46 vaults underneath it packed with coffins. These were sealed and preserved when the church was demolished and lay undisturbed with a 1908 stone cross by Temple Moore marking the location, later joined by a stone cenotaph designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1924. One famous resident of the crypt is Hugh Hornby Birley, who was reputed to have led the Yeomanry in their charge as part of the Peterloo Massacre in 1819.
Thatched House Pub 📍 View on map
Rough vicinity of the Thatched House Pub, demolished in 1972. There were apparently sandstone dunnels in the vaults which headed in the direction of the Cathedral and Spring Gardens (Warrender 2007:69).
The Fountain 📍 View on map
Spring near the corner of King Street and Spring Gardens. See Underground Manchester (Warrender, 2007:76).
A cobbled underground service road built in 1921 and written about in 1962 in the Manchester Evening Chronicle (Underground Manchester - Keith Warrender, 1962:66). It is accessed on Old Bank Street from a vehicle elevator, and contains a turntable to allow vehicles to be turned around.
There used to be a fairly large underground market with a main entrance on Market Street selling music, clothes and other items. It was open in the 1970s and 1980 and perhaps even the early 1990s.
Underground Street 📍 View on map
Location very vague. Sources: Ojay: Undercroft, Manchester
Well under the old Theatre Royal 📍 View on map
Site of Manchester’s first theatre where a well was discovered under the stage. See Manchester Undergound (Warrender, 2007:76). From A Well In Old Manchester (Baker, 1959).
Ye Olde Rovers Return 📍 View on map
Source of a rumoured tunnel to the Cathedral
Between the 1930s and 1960s Manchester had an underground sauna and heated swimming pool run by the Gaskell family, under the Imperial Buildings on Oxford Road.
Bank Chambers was used to store gold bullion by the Bank of England between 1971 and into the 1990s. It now forms a data centre complex 25ft below ground in the former vault.
The Wishing Well was a restaurant in which a shaft was discovered in the basement (which was then used a wishing well decoration). The shaft was deeper than expected, as discovered when it was explored before the building was demolished as part of the Arndale plans.
Sunlight House Basement Swimming Pool 📍 View on map
Sunlight House built in 1932 was the tallest commercial building in Manchester, and considered a skyscraper of its time. But in its basement Joseph Sunlight had a swimming pool installed, which exists to this day; it is now part of Bannatyne’s Manchester health club. You can see the swimming pool on their website (direct link).
From Piccadilly Gardens steps lead down to a set of rooms housing machinery, electrical equipment, 14 pumps and holding tanks which power the fountains above installed in 2002.
Cellar in St Mary’s Gate 📍 View on map
A cellar with passages leading underneath St Mary’s Gate can be seen in a photo from the Manchester Archives, along with the corresponding view from the street. Perhaps this is associated with the Deansgate tunnel?
A well was discovered here while extensions to the Manchester College of Technology (now the University of Manchester’s Sackville Street building) were being built.
Dale Street Canal Store 📍 View on map
A correspondent writes:
There is a doorway at canal level under the road bridge which access a number of subterranean rooms. During the late 70’s/early 80’s they were in use by the Rochdale Canal Society as a store and i remember attending some sort of Christmas “rave” party in there which was organised by the RCS. At about 1am the plods turned up, amused because they couldn’t understand why they were hearing punk music blaring out of the tarmac of Dale St. I have little recollection of how big the areas are down there, but it must have been quite a size to hold a party in.
In 1983 an 1824 15 foot 10 inch waterwheel was discovered in an underground chamber beneath Dale Warehouse (now Carver’s Warehouse). Used until the late 1880s it powered hoists to lift goods from the Rochdale Canal into nearby warehouses, and a 70 foot tunnel housed a shaft which transferred the power to the now demolished 1922 warehouse directly to the south.
This is the site of an old cave known as Woden’s Den. Destroyed by James Hall who bought the land in 1808 to discourage visitors, the site was variously believed to be a temple to Odin, a quarry and a Christian hermitage.
Albert Square Public Toilets 📍 View on map
As late as 1985 (and apparently 1986) there were public toilets in Albert Square, between the statues of Oliver Heywood and William Ewart Gladstone. You can see the toilets in Albert Square, Public toilets and Albert Square, from Town Hall Side, both from the Local Image Collection.
Winning the award for the best use of a former public toilet, The Temple (of Convenience) now uses the space previously occupied by Great Bridgewater Street Public Toilets. You can see the entrance in 1965 in Great Bridgewater Street, Looking to Oxford Street from the Local Image Collection.
Although intriguing this is just an electrical sub station, although apparently it used to be some underground public toilets.
Stevenson Square Public Toilets 📍 View on map
Stevenson Square’s underground public toilets have now been turned into an art project. I believe the entrance can be seen in Stevenson Square, Manchester from Oldham Street from the Local Image Collection. The toilets are mentioned by the requester of an FOI request into historic public toilets of Manchester.
Plaza Steps 📍 View on map
Manchester Cave 📍 View on map
This is a curious little void underneath buildings on the bank of the River Irwell, in the vicinity of the Parsonage Gardens. You can see a video of an explorer completing the short scramble to it’s entrance and taking a look inside on YouTube.
Known as the ‘rat run’ tunnels, this labyrinth of underground passageways and rooms is formed from a Grade II-listed colonnaded railway viaduct (circa 1870) with some parts stretching into the cellars of the Bonded Warehouse (circa 1867). The viaduct itself is supported by a series of cast-iron columns on stone bases.
In April 2016 a correspondent took a photo of a wall at this point which has been put in place to block something off, but with a small opening left for ventilation purposes (shown in the top left of the photo, near the graffiti which has been pixelated for decency). They later examined an old photo from 1892 of the bridge, which show that there were voids left under the road at this point. A 1973 photo from the other side does not show any similar openings, so it appears these were either bricked up or the voids were enclosed (as suggested by their darkness in the older photo). Whether the voids still exist or have been filled in is not clear, but it is interesting to think that they might be there just beneath the road surface. The walkway this photo was taken from is now fenced off, so it is not possible to investigate further.
Here there is a bricked up doorway and two grilles leading to a space with white ceramic tiles (as reported on Reddit). A number of people have written to suggest that the space is an old public toilet. A local resident wrote:
The Bricked up doorway on Barton used to be Public Toilets until around 1970, until new ones were built directly opposite, which is now a park.
The Toilets was used by the Barge people carrying good above on the canal. From what I can remember you went in through a single door, Gents to the left and Ladies to the right.
These are just a few of the more interesting shelters in Manchester. There were hundreds if not thousands of shelters at one time or another, many of which were just reinforced basements.
Byrom Street Air Raid Shelter Entrance 📍 View on map
Somewhere on Byrom Street
Deansgate Air Raid Shelter Entrance 📍 View on map
Somewhere on Deansgate
Gorton Air Raid Shelters 📍 View on map
Photos titled ‘Plate 18 Gorton Road (northern side), West Gorton. Industrial waste ground with surviving World War II air raid shelters ’ on page 9 (titled page 173) this PDF: ‘Manchester Urban Historic Landscape Characterisation Sections 8 - Appendices’.
Lower Byrom Street Air Raid Shelter Entrance 📍 View on map
Somewhere on Lower Byrom Street
Melland Road Air Raid Shelters 📍 View on map
Watson Street Air Raid Shelter Entrance 📍 View on map
Somewhere on Watson Street
Below Manchester Piccadilly is an old air raid shelter, capable of holding 1275 people.
Stockport is home to nearly a mile of tunnels which were dug out from the sandstone in 1938 to provide shelter for 6,500 people during bombing raids during the Second World War. One set of shelters (nicknamed the ‘Chestergate Hotel’ due to the comparitively luxurious conditions) are open as a museum decribing life in 1940s wartime Britain. Brinksway and Dodge Hill remain closed and abandoned, except for the occasional visit from Urban Explorers.
This secret war room / bunker had a role in Britain’s defence strategy between 1952 and 1991. It started its life as one of 13 regional war rooms. For the latter 27 of those years this is where Manchester’s council would retreat to coordinate emergency planning during an attack or disaster. The building was semi underground and could be secured, housing air filtration systems, washing facilities, a canteen, generators, a scientific station, emergency communications and a food store.
This bunker built in the grounds of Greystroke Hall was operational between 1954 and 1968. From 1962 this site reported in to Manchester Regional War Room in Cheadle. It existed until at least 2002 and the site was redeveloped around 2005 into residential flats, when plans included the destruction of the bunker.
Altrincham Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1965 and 1991 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. The site is now demolished and private bunker has been built in its place. You can see pictures on 28DaysLater.
Atherton Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1959 and 1991 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. You can see photos from inside on 28DaysLater and on Northwest Exploration, and read about it in this Manchester Evening News story.
Chinley Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1960 and 1968 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. It has been demolished.
Chorlton Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1961 and 1968 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. It’s position is approximate, as the only reference to go on is the grid reference SJ830931.
Glossop Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1960 and 1968 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. You can see pictures on 28DaysLater and Flickr.
Heaton Park Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
See this Royal Observer Corps bunker on Subterranea Britannica.One of the old civil defence bunkers, the rubble still recognisable from the Google Maps Street View. Nearby is the original Heaton Park Backbone BT radio tower. See the site on Google Maps.
Hyde Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
See this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker located in the car park of the Hare & Hounds Inn in Hyde on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1962 and 1968 the shelter (visible on Google Maps Street View) would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. It is in relatively good condition, and has not been filled in yet.
Knutsford Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1959 and 1991 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. The site is now demolished and the position is approximate. You can see pictures on 28DaysLater.
Macclesfield Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1965 and 1968 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. You can see pictures on 28DaysLater.
Poynton Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1962 and 1991 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. You can see pictures on 28DaysLater.
Shaw Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1960 and 1968 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. You can see pictures on Urbex Forums.
Turton Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1965 and 1991 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. You can see pictures on Lancashire At War, Urbex Forums and 28DaysLater.
Warrington Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Bunker 📍 View on map
Read more about this Royal Observer Corps (ROC) bunker on Subterranea Brittanica.Open between 1959 and 1968 the shelter would have protected a few men whose job was to detect, locate and communicate the location of nuclear detonations using triangulation. The site is now demolished and the position is approximate.
The Worsley Anti Aircraft Operations Room is a dual level concrete structure from which air defence across the ‘Manchester Gun Defended Area’ would have been coordinated against threats perceived in the early periods of the Cold War. It was operational between 1952 and 1958, after which it changed hands between various authorities being used as a food store, civil defence command post and even a meeting place for a gun club. It is currently abandoned, derelict and vandalised, with the occasional illegal rave (video one, video two).
Manchester Town Hall served as a command post for defences during the Second World War, so it’s no surprise it has a reinforced air raid shelter in its basement. These days the space is used mainly for storage, but the Manchester Evening News has some good photos of the rarely seen basement and some other interesting private spots within the building.
When Trafford Town Hall had a new extension in the early 1980s a large, controversial and rather shallow bunker was included in the construction. Although it was designed for non-peaceful threats it was in the meantime used by the emergency services and as a CCTV control room. By 2011 it was a flooded abandoned basement of the demolished extension which was being replaced by a more modern building.
Thomas Street Air Raid Shelters 📍 View on map
An apparent shelter existed here, with steps leading down to a set of four perpendicular tunnels. The shelter was accessible via a hatch until at least the seventies. You can see the outline of the steps on Google Maps aerial view on the embedded map shown below.
Manchester’s rich transport history of canals, trains, trams and planned undergmund schemes mean there are plenty of transport related features often built over and forgotten by the modern world.
This British Railways Staff Association pub closed in 1992, and sat just outside the entrance. It consists of space underground, which is a favorite haunt of Victoria Station urban explorers.
Report - B.R.S.A Club, Manchester - 2012. The building above the exterior entrance was used by a hair dressing business for some time.
Cheshire Lines Railway Cutting 📍 View on map
Picc-Vic: Arndale Void 📍 View on map
This is the spot of an apparent void in the depths of the Arndale, purportedly reserved for the entrance to or the main area of the Royal Exchange Picc-Vic station.
Next time you pass Topshop, pause to contemplate the fact that 30ft below it is an enormous hole which was almost certainly dug to be part of a swanky Manchester tube system.
There are some more pictures and Arndale plans showing a void in this article titled Manchester unearths forgotten 1970s tube line.
Picc-Vic was a proposed underground rail link between Piccadilly Station and Victoria Station. It reached the proposal stages and a route was surveyed, but the scheme was cut in 1977 to save money.
Picc-Vic: Royal Exchange Station entrance? 📍 View on map
Possible entrance to an underground space, intended to be used as part of the Picc-Vic rail link.
About 1972 a friend on mine Brian Conner worked on the Arndale site in Manchester as a foreman, He came to me one day with his friend Steve Price when I was in the YMCA and told me to go with him to see something,
The entrance was (and still is there) a plain door not far from the corner of Market Street and Cross Street, where Boots the Chemist is now As we went through the entrance there were wooden stairs leading down, 2 flights of stairs down he shown me a big metal door, The door must have been about 5 to 6 inches thick and inside there was what looked like a storage area, Id say about 40 feet by 30 feet, He speculated on it being a storage area during the cold war days…
Railway Mens Club 📍 View on map
Just off store street, with the entrance still visible in the wall (see a Manchester Libraries image), this space underneath the station was a club with live music up until the mid 1990s.
You can see more modern photographs in this article in Railway Mens Club, Store Street on the Pubs of Manchester blog.
Salford Underground Railway 📍 View on map
See this RailUKForums discussion.
Collyhurst Tram Tunnel 📍 View on map
The Collyhurst Tram Tunnel is an old train tunnel which was repurposed when trams used the same route.
Rochdale Road Tram Tunnel 📍 View on map
Rochdale Road Tram Tunnel
An old forum post mentions there may still be the remains of older platforms and stables associated with the earlier days of the station.
These tunnels used to take the Cheshire Lines Committee railway line under Chester Road and Talbot Road near to Throstles Nest Bridge. You can see the southern portal of Tunnel No.3A now if you sit on the left hand side of the tram (facing forwards) between Firswood and Trafford Bar, just as the tram heads under the Altrincham line and turns to join it (see the photo below).
A railway line once led to Stockport from Reddish Junction at the Brinnington (east) side of the viaduct. This line has been turned into a public bridleway joining the two parts of the country park and forms a section of the Trans Pennine Trail.
This is the route of three previous railway tunnels linking Woodhead and Dunford Bridge. A number of shafts were sunk along the route—some of which are still intact. You can read loads more about the tunnels and their construction on Forgotten Relics.
Heaton Park Tram Tunnel 📍 View on map
The sandstone rock under much of Manchester lends itself to self supporting tunnels, and many generations have relied on this fact to build vast networks of tunnels. Many of these are forgotten about, many are rumoured and some are discovered as building work exposes earth.
Bolton Arms 📍 View on map
83 New Bridge Street.
Rumoured to have a passageway to Victoria Station, and possibly the cathedral.
Described as the Roman tunnel, this rumoured passageway is said to be large enough for a small bus to pass through, and 70 feet below ground. Sources about the tunnel are almost entirely anecdotal memories, and the route is very vaguely described. Specific locations said to be along the route include Manchester Cathedral, Wagstaff’s Piano Shop and the Old Deanery.There are some photos in Ojay’s blog article about an urban exploration visit, where access to a tunnel assumed / calculated to be the Deansgate Tunnel is documented.
During Picc-Vic text excavations tunnels were found between Long Millgate at the front of Victoria Station and the siding known as the Fish Dock.
Old Manchester Evening News office tunnel 📍 View on map
Between the two Manchester Evening News offices, which were demolished to make way for Spinningfields. The Hardman Street building had three levels of basement which were linked by a further tunnel to Northcliffe House.
Passage to Smith Hill & Co on Cannon Street 📍 View on map
See Underground Manchester (Warrender, 2007:85)
Possible route of the Deansgate Tunnel 📍 View on map
According to Manchester Underground (Warrender, 2007:98) workers discovered a tunnel believed to run under Deansgate when excavating the railway tunnel here.
Route of the Deansgate Tunnel 📍 View on map
According to Manchester Underground (Warrender, 2007:99) the tunnel was entered through a door under houses on Silver Street.
Rumoured Bolton Arms tunnel 📍 View on map
From Bolton Arms, 83 New Bridge Street Victoria Station, and possibly the Cathedral, although this seems unlikely taking the Irk culvert into account.
Rumoured Chetham’s Tunnel 📍 View on map
Reported in the City News, 1915 that a passageway was discovered around 1842 between Chetham’s Well and the Cathedral.
Rumoured Cumberland Street Tunnel 📍 View on map
Suggested to exist under the route of Cumberland Street, due to a story about a man on the run disappearing into a house and not exiting. See Manchester Underground (Warrender, 2007:94).
Rumoured Moston Cottage tunnel 📍 View on map
A tunnel is remembered to exist in this area, beneath Moston Cottage (built 1713), and accessed through other properties. Rumoured to extend to the Cathedral and used as transport for catholics during persecution.
Rumoured Tunnel between the ‘Castle and Falcon’ pub and the Cathedral. 📍 View on map
This tunnel is mentioned in Underground Manchester.
Rumoured tunnel from ‘Ye Olde Rovers Return’ pub to the Cathedral 📍 View on map
This rumoured tunnel between the Cathedral and test Ye Olde Rovers Return is mentioned in Underground Manchester. The pub was demolished in 1958, but inspired the Rovers Return Inn from Coronation Street which was first broadcast in 1960.
Silver Street 📍 View on map
Silver Street, as it was up to at least 1960.
Trafford Hall Lodge 📍 View on map
According to Manchester Underground (Warrender, 2007:99) there existed a shaft in the Trafford Hall Lodge with a rope ladder heading down to the Deansgate tunnel.
Tunnels under Deanwater Close / Skerry Close 📍 View on map
24ft high, 45ft long 15ft wide chamber with arched roof discovered in 1964, accessed through a 5' shaft found as part of a sewer collapse. Dates back to early 1800s. No houses built above as precaution. See Manchester Underground (Warrender, 2007:108).
This was the site of a tunnel which was at times used as an underground skittle alley, and by Goulburn’s food shop who used the tunnel space as a cheese store. It seems to have connected up to various parts of the old market place here.
Albert Wagstaff’s Piano shop at 1–3 St Mary’s Gate is referenced a number of times in relation to the Deansgate tunnel. It has been claimed that two flights of stairs led down to the tunnel which was used for storage. See Underground Manchester (Warrender, 2007:96).
Walkers Croft tunnel leads beyond metal gates along the route of the original road by the side of the River Irk. Walkers Croft itself was a cemetery and chapel linked with the Manchester Union Workhouse. The route is connected to Long Millgate by the wooden bridge.
This tunnel network underneath Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester Institude of Biotechnology and the School of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering predates the university. It is notable for its layout—not a straight line from ‘A’ to ‘B’, but sprawling to connect the whole area. With four shafts, its layout was mapped and modelled extensively around 1969, and the detailed plans can be found on the John Rylands University Library Image Collections. Photographs from the survey (as marked as plates on the plans) can be seen on the UMIST Campus History site.
Built in 1765 many imagine this tunnel at the bottom of Pioneer Quay to be part of the Rochdale Canal to which it is currently linked. It was in fact part of the lower Bridgewater canal, built to take canal boats underneath the Duke of Bridgewater's warehouse on Bridgewater street. The lower level of the Bridgewater explains why there does not appear to be enough room to enter in a boat.
The old Co-op buildings around Balloon Street were all connected by subway tunnels under the road, to allow movement of staff and deliveries without having to deal with traffic.
The new Co-op building ‘One Angel Square’ has a network of tunnels beneath it to regulate temperature, using the heat differential to hear or cool depending on conditions.
Anecdotal tunnels leading off a cellar on the southern corner of Tib Lane and Cross Street.
An old tunnel opened in 1920 linked ‘Kendal, Milne & Faulkner’ buildings (aka Kendals, now House of Fraser Manchester) on opposite sides of Deansgate. The rebuilding of the current listed building on the west side of Deansgate was completed in 1940 and the site was actually the extension to the original store on the east side (itself rebuilt after the street widening in 1873, and now Waterstones).The tunnel is fondly remembered by many workers and visitors to the department store. Talking to some present staff there are tales of five or six other tunnels heading in different directions from the store.
This was a tunnel from Store Street under the Ashton Canal which formed a basin here. I spotted this tunnel in around 2008, but the area has now been levelled as a car park. You can see the same tunnel on this 1977 photo of Store Street from Manchester Archives (catalogue page).
Disley Rail Tunnel 📍 View on map
Disley Tunnel is 3.5km long and was built in 1902 by the Midland Railway. It now serves the Hope Valley Line and has a number of ventilation shafts visible on the surface as stone chimneys shown by markers on the map. You can read more about it on Grace’s Guide and on Wikipedia.
Keith Warrender has referred to a subway under Nell Lane, and news stories show that a 2009 explosion was caused by a severed gas pipe in a tunnel at this location.
During the construction of 1 New York Street a tunnel was visible linking the site with the Royal Bank of Scotland, under Mosley Street. You can see photos of it on Michael Ashton’s Flickr page and warhead’s Flickr page (reproduced below).
Read more in The Art Of Science At City Tower on the Skyliner blog.
RNCM Steam Tunnel 📍 View on map
Apparently the Royal Northern College of Music has a tunnel to another building carrying a steam pipe, presumably into the UMIST steam powered central heating system. You can see a picture of the entrance to the tunnel in the Tunnel Inspector’s album of photos from an RNCM backstage tour.
Pomona Docks Tunnels 📍 View on map
Somewhere on Pomona Island there are tunnels apparently following the route of old tram lines which ran around the docks, shown on Rail Map Online. It is believed they carried cables for the trams due to cable fixings on the walls. Visits were made in 2008, 2011 and 2013.
In an interesting article about the renovation of Manchester Town Hall, the Manchester Evening News stated that a tunnel had been discovered leading from the town hall underneath Princess Street. It’s not clear whether there was an entrance from the staircase discovered in the Lord Mayor’s chambers. I’ve placed the pin close to that corner of the building though, as a guess.
The area around Victoria Station and Manchester Cathedral (the Collegiate Church of the past) is rich and deep in history… from culverted rivers, historic bridges, lost rivers, original road levels, air raid shelters and
Hanging Bridge 📍 View on map
This bridge spans Hanging Ditch. You can read a BBC article titled Bridge to Manchester's past revealed.
Victoria Arches (also known as Cathedral Steps) is an area with many layers of history. The story goes back to the ancient days of Manchester where the city was little more than a settlement surrounded with water based defences—the Irwell, the Irk and Hanging Ditch. The road’s original level sloped towards a bridge at Hunts Bank over the River Irk and was later levelled out by the creation of a new embankment with a row of arched supports raising the road to a new level between 1833 and 1838.
Walkers Croft Cemetery 📍 View on map
This area was a burial ground and church known as Walker’s Croft. At times excavations for the station have unearthed human remains.
This bridge joins Walkers Croft to Todd Street / Long Millgate, and may well date back beyond 1650, as a bridge at this position is shown on Berry’s 1650 map. Now hidden beneath Victoria Station in the Irk Culvert, this bridge is preserved and used as a utility tunnel.
Work House 📍 View on map
This was the site of a work house which was connected to the nearby graveyard.
When building the Bridgewater Canal James Brindley built a siphon at Pomona to carry the Cornbrook under the canal and into the River Irwell. He also build a circular wear here to allow the canal to overflow in to the brook in order to maintain the correct height of the water. You can see a photo of Cornbrook Weir on Canal Archive.
This tunnel leads from a previous lower level Medlock to a point just underneath the present day station approach, and was used to carry coal from the Worsley mines to the station.
Irk Culvert start at Scotland Bridge / Redwood 📍 View on map
Here the Irk culvert begins.
The underground canal was built in 1839 to avoid large tolls on the other connection between the Rochdale Canal & the River Irwell, and also provided a convenient route on to the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal which terminated almost directly opposite the junction with the Irwell. The tunnel was later used as air raid shelters during WWII. The Irwell end was renovated in the 1980s and until recently underground tours were offered of the space underneath the Great Northern Railway Warehouse.
Medlock ‘Budge’ Culvert 📍 View on map
Medlock Culvert 📍 View on map
A culvert of the River Medlock.
Here the Medlock is diverted via a siphon underneath the Bridgewater canal. Before this tunnel was built the river supplied the Bridgewater, but this was no longer necessary when the connection to the Rochdale Canals was made. The pins on the map represent ventilation grids. The tunnel and associated overflow are grade II listed structures.
Medlock Gaythorn Culvert 📍 View on map
This culverted section of the River Medlock flows under the First Street development, formerly the Gaythorn Gasworks. It is shown as an open river on the 1845 OS Six-Inch map. By 1888 it had been covered as shown on the Lancashire. Manchester. Sheet CIV. 10. 14 map. It was still following its original course at this point (shown dashed on this map). The route appears to have been straightened at some point since 1888. Within this section the hidden River Tib meets the River Medlock.
Medlock ‘You-Missed’ Culvert 📍 View on map
Optimus Prime River Irk culvert 📍 View on map
Named Optimus Prime by the urban exploration community. Martin Zero has a video of his exploration of the culvert.
Previous Irwell route 📍 View on map
Here the Bridgewater drains into the Medlock though a tumbling weir. Brindley is also responsible for the similar Cornbrook Weir. The tunnel that this weir drains into joins the Medlock next to the outfall of the Medlock Diversion Tunnel. The overflow and associated tunnel are grade II listed structures.
Here the hidden underground River Tib crosses the Rochdale Canal. At a point—marked on the side of the canal—the two are connected by a trap-door in the canal bed which was used to drain water into the River Tib.
The River Tib has been hidden from view for almost two centuries, and yet is still remembered in place names such as Tib Street, Tib Lock, Tib Lane. It marked the boundary of the Roman settlement Mamucium and ultimately feeds the River Medlock.
Rochdale Canal Tunnel under Dale Street 📍 View on map
Rochdale Water Diversion Culvert Vent 📍 View on map
Shooters Brook rises in Newton Heath. It is a tributary of the Medlock and is fed by Newton Brook. Although these days it is diverted into the Dukes Tunnel and sewers it used to run openly through Manchester from the North East, meeting the Medlock at Garrat Hall.
The Great Fosse 📍 View on map
Route taken from A deeper understanding of climate induced risk to urban infrastructure: case studies of past events in Greater Manchester.
Read Remains Connected With Lancaster and Chester: Collectanea Relating to Manchester and Its Neighborhood for more information.
This is the location of the point that the River Tib joins the River Medlock. The exact location is roughly worked out from tracing the 1794 William Green map. The photos below from substormflow’s exploration of the River Medlock are believed to be the river emerging from its very old culvert (much better versions are included on the link) just underneath First Street. The drawing (provided by Manchester’s image archives) shows an illustration by Frederick A. Winkfield from page 109 of Memorials of Manchester Streets named ‘Outlet of the River Tib at Gaythorn’.
The 56 mile underground Haweswater Aqueduct is another feat of engineering drawing water from the Lake District to supply Manchester. It was started in 1935, 10 years after the Thirlmere Aqueduct was completed in 1955 (although later improvements were made in the 1970s).
This mammoth 96 mile aqueduct was built between 1890 and 1925 to serve the growing demand for water in post-industrial revolution Manchester. A true feat of Victorian engineering, it brings over 220 million litres of clean drinking water (11% of the North West’s water) from the Lake District to Manchester over a 36 hour journey. It is the longest gravity-fed aqueduct in the world and if its tunnel section was continuous it would be the longest tunnel in the world.
Ball Brook 📍 View on map
Black Brook Beswick 📍 View on map
Black Brook 📍 View on map
Chorlton Brook 📍 View on map
Clayton Brook 📍 View on map
Cornbrook 📍 View on map
Cringle Brook 📍 View on map
Crowcroft Brook 📍 View on map
Dick Lane Brook 📍 View on map
Dodgeleech Brook 📍 View on map
Dog Kennel Brook 📍 View on map
Fallowfield Brook 📍 View on map
Fog Lane Brook 📍 View on map
Gore Brook may receive its name from a dirty appearance, as gore means dirty in Dutch. It is over 3 miles long (although perhaps longer as I’ve not found a definitive description of its start). It runs through Birch Fields Park and Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield and is culverted a number of times in Belle Vue, Rusholme and Fallowfield. Close to its start at Debdale Reservoir a culvert (nicknamed Gorton Falls) carries the Gore over the reservoir to keep it’s polluted water out of it.
Levenshulme Road Brook 📍 View on map
Ley Brook 📍 View on map
Longford Brook 📍 View on map
Moss Brook 📍 View on map
Platt Brook 📍 View on map
Print Works Brook 📍 View on map
Red Lion Brook 📍 View on map
Rush Brook 📍 View on map
Shaw Brook 📍 View on map
Unknown tributary of Longford Brook 📍 View on map
This appears to be a tributary to Longford Brook, and is shown on the Ordnance Survey Revisions of 1932-1935 map.
Willow Brook 📍 View on map
Newton Brook 📍 View on map
Newton Brook is a small brook rising in Wilson Park between Newton Heath and Miles Platting. It eventually feeds into Shooters Brook.
Moston Brook 📍 View on map
Moston Brook passes near to the location of Moston Cottage, and eventually feeds the River Irk. You can see an exploration of Moston Brook’s culverts on substormflow, 28dayslater, urbexforums and Derelict Places.
Rough Leech Gutter 📍 View on map
Mersey Merseyway culvert 📍 View on map
This culvert takes the newly formed River Mersey under Stockport’s Merseyway Shopping Centre. See photos from the Tunnel Inspector.
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Margaret Fletcher Tunnel 📍 View on map
Completed in 2008, this tunnel underneath the Manchester Inner Ring Road connects the restored Middlewood Locks section of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal to the River Irwell. Slightly further along the canal is the yet to be reopened Salford Tunnel No. 1.
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Salford Tunnel No. 1 📍 View on map
Here the Bolton Canal passed beneath the Manchester and Bolton Railway. The canal is being restored and this tunnel marks the end of the section currently navigable from the River Irwell. Just after this short tunnel another was built, known as Salford Tunnel No. 2, but this replaced by a bridge although still referred to as a tunnel. Downstream boats must pass through the new Margaret Fletcher tunnel under Manchester Inner Ring Road to reach the Irwell. You can read more about this stretch of the canal on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society site. The Ordnance Survey Lancashire. Sheet CIV. 10 sheet shows this section of the canal in 1986.
Part of the Longdendale Aqueduct, Mottram Tunnel is 2.8km long. It was built between 1848 and 1850 and can carry 230 million litres of water a day. Along its route you can see a number of ventilation shafts, including one right in the middle of a housing estate (see Google Maps). The tunnel is shown on a splendid map of the aqueduct shown in Martin Dodge’s Spaces of Infrastructure: The History and Description of the Manchester Waterworks article on his blog.