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KINGSWAY TELEPHONE EXCHANGE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  CHANCERY LANE DEEP SHELTER, CHANCERY LANE UNDERGROUND SATION
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Chancery Road underground station opened on 30th July 1900 as an intermediate station on the line between Shepherd's Bush and Bank. The street entrance and ticket hall was located at 31-33 High Holborn. The station was refurbished in the early 1930s and the entrance resited down the road to the junction of High Holborn and Gray's Inn Road (see HOB UID 1311973). The original station building was closed. During the Second World War the former Chancery Lane station was chosen to site a deep air raid shelter shelter. The shelter comprised two parallel tubes 1,200 feet (approx. 365 metres) long with a 16.6 feet (approx. 5 metres) diameter. Each tunnel had two decks equipped with bunks, medical posts, kitchens and toilets and could accommodate 8,000 people. It was constructed between 1940 and 1942. The shelter was accessed by lift shafts and stairwells at 31-33 High Holborn and at 38-39 Furnival Street and staircases also led down from station platforms on the Central Line. Once completed however, it was not opened to the public and for a time served as a troop hostel. In 1944 it accommodated staff of the London Civil Defence region and Ministry of Works, as well as some employees of Combined Operations and the Inter Services Research Bureau. It later became a Government Communications Headquarters. After the war in 1945 the deep shelter was occupied by the Public Record Office for storage. This continued up until 1951. In the early 1950s the tunnels were extended with the construction of four large tubes under Staple Inn. A further entrance with ventilation towers were built at Tooks Court and a goods lift installed at Furnival Street. This was done to accommodate the Post Office's Kingsway Trunk Exchange, a long-distance telephone terminal, which opened on 30th October 1954. This closed in 1980. Since 1990 the tunnels have been decommissioned and only used for storage. The Tooks Court entrance was demolished in 2002.

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