Unknown complex hidden far below the Alexandra Palace
Search as hard as I might, I have not been able to uncover any real details of this 'Secret' establishment hidden below Alexandra Palace.
I read about this in a article in one of the joint magazines meant for the members of the emergency services, it was written by a fireman sometime in the mid to late 80's. The magazine is no longer and I have been unable to find the article again.
It was reading about this particular odd event, along with my own experience in the bowels of the Kingsway as an Ambulanceman that really sparked off my interest in secret underground bases, yet this one too seems to be invisible and hard to find any information about. The exact location is unknown, and although it was in the vicinity of Alexandra Palace I have no way of defining how close or whether it does in fact have anything to do with the Palace itself.
The fireman recounted a call to what he described as a typical Barn type structure in the vicinity of Alexandra Palace. On arrival they were queued along with several other fire appliances a distance from the barn, one by one the vehicles were approached by 'Officials' dressed in dark suits and they were informed or should I say warned that they were accountable under the official secrets act and should not say anything about what they were to experience.
Each vehicle in turn was directed up to the outside front of the Barn, the fireman told to remove their hoses and put BA apparatus on. One at a time they had to enter the pitch black barn door and follow the hose lines already present to the end, to then attach their hose to it and fully unroll it, before returning back to the entrance following the knotted safety rope.
When it was his turn to go, and after his equipment had been thoroughly checked and details written on the tally board, he was directed through the semi-closed barn door. On entry no lighting or smoke was present, and the floor became angled steeply downwards. The fireman had to walk a considerable distance in a downhill direction until he located the end of the last existing hose, he attached his to the end and began to unroll it downhill. Holding the knotted safety rope which used angled knots to ensure they travelled in the correct direction in the complete darkness back to the surface, however the fireman said this was totally unnecessary due to the steepness of the incline and faint dot of daylight in the very far distance.
On return to the surface and removal of the BA set, he was instructed to return to the fire engine and wait while his colleagues repeated the same procedure in turn. Each of the engines that attended had to do the same, driving away from the scene once done, returning to station to collect spare hoses in case of an emergency fire call. He did not mention going back to retrieve the hoses, so perhaps they were returned to the fire station later.
Was there a fire below ground ?
A chemical spillage ?
A Biological accident ?
And what exactly was stored down there ?
Equipment or supplies,
Now a fire hose is not short, to attach many end to end defines that this downward slope was very long and therefore at the angle he said he descended means that whatever was down there was a considerable depth below ground level.
From my recent investigations into underground bases, it would appear that this was far too deep for an ROC Observation post although there is a intact Royal Observer Corps wartime underground monitoring post located in Bowes Park at the nearby Alexandra Palace, but this is just below ground level and not deeply buried. It might possibly have been an underground regional emergency control centre, yet again the depth makes this very unlikely.
Although the location or actual distance from Alexandra Palace has not been confirmed, the description of it being a barn like structure and therefore possibly on 'farmland', makes the possibility of it being a Deep Shelter similar to the Chancery Lane (Kingsway Deep Shelter) a little unrealistic. Deep Shelters were located in areas of civilisation and not hidden away where access would be difficult.
Even though a very doubtful one
On more than one occasion over the years there had been plans made to extend the existing London Underground tube system to Alexandra Palace, some work was actually started, but was shelved well before completion. If completed the tube map would of looked like the diagram on the left.The area close to Alexandra Palace does have long closed, unused or even uncompleted rail stations and therefore would possibly have old railway tunnels passing through them, but even if this was a possible answer, then you have to answer..
The magazine that held the original article of the Fireman's experience has long ceased publishing and I can find no trace of it. I lost my clipping of this many years before on my move to Wales from London. I would so like to find the fireman concerned or one of his fellow crew members who attended to try to find more precise details.
If you have any further information or can shed some light on this I would be very grateful.
But maybe this one will just remain one of the great unsolved !