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Are there tunnels under Newbury?

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A series of unexplained images could indicate a labyrinth of passageways that were once in use

A SECRET world of underground tunnels which connect various areas of Newbury, an image most likely found in the fictional pages of a mystery novel, may have some bearing in truth.

Newbury town councillor David Allen (Lib Dem, Victoria) has produced a guide to the history of the town for councillors who are often asked to do informal tours of the building.

While carrying out his research underneath the town hall, he has taken a series of photographs of apparently unexplained images which may indicate a labyrinth of passageways which were once in use.

“While researching the building I had an opportunity to visit the basement areas as a few people have told me there are rumours of tunnels linking the Town Hall with both the Corn Exchange and St Nicholas Church,” he said.

“I expect these rumours came about in the early 1900s when the old Mansion House was being demolished and large drainage pipes were uncovered in Mansion House Street. But this doesn't explain the rumour of a tunnel to the Corn Exchange and I must admit I was surprised how far the basement area runs under the Market Square.”

“If anyone does have any information or knows more about the rumours then I'd love to hear from them."

Local historian Garry Poulson said he believed the rumours came from people peeking at the impressive Victorian sewage network system which runs underneath the town.

“I have heard rumours but I don't think there is anything in it. The sewers are four foot tall and a wonder of architecture, they are a marvel really and are still helping us today. It could be that this has perpetuated the myth.

“I don't think there are tunnels under the town for a few reasons, the main one would be the propensity for flooding in the area which would flood anything under line.”

Mr Allen said it was Mr Poulson's view, but he would keep going until he got a definitive answer, and would like to hear from the people of Newbury if anyone had any more information.

If you have any information or think you can solve the riddle, contact Mark Taylor on 01635 564532 or mark.taylor@newburynews.co.uk.

For more photos, click on the additional pictures link below.

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