Bolton Arms 📍
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.
The Old Deanery stood at 66 Deansgate (now the site of 90 Deansgate, pictured). The cellars had a small door which led down to the Deansgate tunnel via steps.
Old Manchester Evening News office tunnel 📍
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 📍
See Underground Manchester (Warrender, 2007:85)
Possible route of the Deansgate Tunnel 📍
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 📍
According to Manchester Underground (Warrender, 2007:99) the tunnel was entered through a door under houses on Silver Street.
Rumoured Bolton Arms tunnel 📍
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 📍
Reported in the City News, 1915 that a passageway was discovered around 1842 between Chetham’s Well and the Cathedral.
Rumoured Cumberland Street Tunnel 📍
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 📍
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. 📍
This tunnel is mentioned in Underground Manchester.
Rumoured tunnel from ‘Ye Olde Rovers Return’ pub to the Cathedral 📍
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 📍
Silver Street, as it was up to at least 1960.
Trafford Hall Lodge 📍
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 📍
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 📍
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 📍
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 📍
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.