So, the underground tunnels...

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Stirling
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So, the underground tunnels...

Post by Stirling » Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:35 pm

Where did they all link up to then? Just read a fascinating post about them coming out – amongst other places – under the organist's seat in the Chapel.

Was always too sh*t-scared to go anywhere further than the next house (well, I was 11), but I was always intrigued.

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Post by jtaylor » Tue Jan 18, 2005 5:26 pm

From my explorations, you could come out in a number of places around the school.

In my last year or two they put dividing doors all down it, barred all sub-tunnels with grills and locks, and alarmed the dividing doors if I recall.

I believe it was closed originally due to asbestos being down there - but that didn't stop us exploring on occassion (sure I'll regret that in later life when I die of asbestosis!). It was a creepy place, lots of dark corner, branching tunnels, and cobwebs!

I distinctly remember finding a batch of home-brew down there round one corner, resting neatly next to some hot water pipes!

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Last edited by jtaylor on Tue Jan 18, 2005 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Hendrik » Tue Jan 18, 2005 5:45 pm

TUBE WALKING IS DANGEROUS, POTENTIALLY LETHAL AND CAN GET YOU IN sh1t UP TO YOUR EYEBALLS

EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS PARTICLES CAN CAUSE ASBESTOSIS, SYMPTOMS OF WHICH MAY NOT APPEAR FOR DECADES, THEN YOU DIE A VERY SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH

I explored a fair amount of the tube (not quite as much as some of my peers, you know who you are). I hope that by posting lots of lesser known things about the tube, you will no longer feel the need to explore it first-hand.
[DO NOT TRY TO EXPLORE THE TUBE - THERE IS SEVERE RISK OF INJURY AND THERE'S NOTHING DOWN THERE OF INTEREST ANYMORE. I'M ASSUMING EXPULSION WILL RESULT FOR ANYONE VENTURING DOWN THERE THESE DAYS, COMBINED WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR SERIOUS INJURY, EITHER SHORT-TERM OR LONG-TERM DUE TO THE ASBESTOS - Mod (further moderation below, sorry Hendrik!)]

Terms; I made the names up, but the info is first-hand and genuine:
>>Main trunk – the biggest tunnel size. You can walk along it without having to watch your head (except for the odd unfriendly pipe or two which are usually at exactly head-height). The main trunk carries electricity, gas and water mains, and telecoms – take care. The funny looking things on the floor are full of rat poison – don’t touch. This tunnel has been stripped of asbestos to an extent, though in theory pupils never go down there, so the asbestos removal will have been less thorough.
>>Avenue trunk – even bigger. Carries the same stuff as the main trunk. Fairly thorough asbestos removal, though it can never be 100%. This has lots of little side rooms, some of which are used for storing suitcases, others have plant machinery in them, decaying mattresses, antique junk, or empty space. Periodically, people stash dodgy stuff, grow pot, brew cider etc in these rooms so have a look. This tunnel is blocked off by locked, fireproof doors halfway between each house entry point.
>>Sub route: tunnels leading from the main trunk to other places or entry points. They have made an attempt to clear the asbestos here, but there is still plenty around. Sub routes normally start a few feet from the floor. You normally have to walk at a crouch or go on all fours.
>>Mini route: These are tiny, cramped passages. They have not cleared these routes at all. You will see the floor of these routes thick in white crystalline stuff. Looks pretty. It’s pure asbestos. These routes often come right up to the floor boards of some buildings.

Points of entry that are still open (main complex):

[Sorry, entrance routes removed - Mod]

Where will the main complex take you?
Under the English block, maths block, quad, chapel, science school, big school, dining hall, court room (went underneath during a piano recital, could see people walking inches above my face), lamb avenue tube. There is a black metal mesh which stops you getting from the main complex to the lamb tube (or visa versa).
I have been stuck in the main complex for some hours, couldn’t leave through big school coz the Itchingfield choir thing started practising, couldn’t leave through chapel coz a service started. Not as fun as it sounds. I got as far as one of the grates in chapel, just about to lift it to get out when a familiar cassock drifted over me. They didn’t see me even though they walked right over my head. Divine intervention?

Anything interesting outside of the main complex?
There's a passage (that's now blocked off) that leads to the infirmary. Julian, the shafts of light you saw probably came from a grate on the vertical face of a step up to what is now Hertford house. You can look through the grate from either side quite easily. I too heard that there used to be a morgue under the infirmary so I guess that was it.

In the corner of the ‘garden’ of the bockers flats is an open section of tube that used to run from the school out to the old sports centre and old station. Lift up the corrugated sheet. It’s quite a drop to the floor so you need to secure rope around the pipes near the surface, and tie foot loops into it. There’s not a whole lot down there, about 50m of tube that is concreted shut at both ends. Not really worth it to be frank.

Miscellaneous:
DO NOT VENTURE INTO THE TUBE.
If you are stupid enough to go down there, you probably should remove yourself from the gene pool anyway. Wear trainers. They are comfy, near silent, draw less attention when going to/coming from the tube. Wear dirty clothes, they will get covered in dust. Get your buddy to brush the dust off you when you get out, people will ask questions. Wear a dust mask to decrease risk of asbestosis. There aren’t a whole lot of lights down there so take a torch and spare batteries. The ones you strap to your head are best. Communicate by whispering, better still, learn a simple hand alphabet. Take a lock-knife and a multi-tool. Don’t smoke down there. Quite apart from the gas mains, the smell will be channelled into buildings and you’ll get busted, expulsion probable. You’d deserve it.
On rainy days, they used to walk to lunch through the tube. They also used to sleep down there during air raids.
The museum has loads of stuff on the tube. Only ask them about it if you are not planning on exploring. They get suspicious (really suspicious).
Another risk is parts of the tube collapsing. It’s happened. A mini was parked on the skylights between two of the boarding houses. It fell through, I was told that those sections have now been reinforced, but why take the chance?
Skylights are a useful way of navigating.
Don’t go when it’s been raining. The tube is below ground level. Water flows downhill. Figure.

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Post by graham » Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:20 pm

I remember going down there once and we were pretty sure that we ended up at the old sports centre. We came up in a room that was full of wierd machinery. I know we started at Dining hall and headed in that direction, but maybe we were mistaken.

Does that sound familiar?

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tunnels

Post by marty » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:37 pm

The tube went all way out to the station (if you go down the steps you can see where they blocked off the tunnel). It runs under most of the original buildings (someone once released a stink bomb in chapel from under the floor). What I want to know is if it went out to Sharpenhurst as legend suggetsed. There was a vent that people used to climb to have parties in and it was "supposedly" linked by the tube at one point. We never discovered if this was true. As for the asbestos we always considered it to be a fabrication to discourage us from venturing down there.

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Post by Great Plum » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:40 pm

On my juniors, we used to store the trunks down there... interestingly having lived at the school since I was about 10 I have seen most of what there is to see dfown there...

On my deps a load of Old Blue Engineers asked to see the tube and so we could take them down in the Dining Hall! It was fun taking 20 suits aged 50 upwards down there!

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Post by mattw » Thu Jan 20, 2005 9:46 am

In 1990 I used to work with Piers Caunter on the pupil's telephone system - PTS - (the exchange for this was (is - perhaps it's still there?) in a room next to the Tuck Shop behind Coleridge).

This gave me a 'pass' to work in the Tube on the exchange cabling but was curtailed in 1991 due to them 'sealing' up the Tube - they put doors on the entrances from all the houses, and also divided the main tube up with fire doors.

One Sunday evening in 1990, the weekend before I sat my GCSEs, we explored, starting from the organ room at the back of Big School and went under the Clostiers and ended up right under the vents in the middle of the Chapel - this during the junior service happening at the time.

The worst bit was emerging back in Big School after our exploration covered in dust to find Mr Keeley checking the desks in Big School ready for the GCSEs on Monday! :shock:

He was just as surprised as us, we made some excuse about trying to find a pencil case behind Big School's stage, I think he was so stunned and confused about where these two pupils had come from, he just let us go - phew!

Fun times.

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Re: tunnels

Post by mattw » Thu Jan 20, 2005 9:51 am

marty wrote:It runs under most of the original buildings (someone once released a stink bomb in chapel from under the floor).
Anthony Moss allegedly (I’d better add for legal reasons!) made a home-made stink & smoke bomb that was placed in the Tube under chapel and went off during the choir rehearsal for the 1992 leaving service…

The doors had to be opened to let the stinking green smoke out!

Julian, you were in the choir weren’t you – perhaps you remember this?

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Post by Great Plum » Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:01 pm

I remember hearing about that stink bomb when I was on my squits!

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Post by paddy » Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:04 pm

Well the stink/smoke bomb escapade is pretty outstanding - give the man a prize for initiative and daring!

We used to use the tube quite a bit, to get to dining hall when it was raining (this was allowed) and to go between houses (not really allowed, but not too serious if you were caught.) The tube used to come up in the courtyard in the centre of the house, is that right? And also in the "masters' rooms" in the centre of house?


I can remember exploring the tube a bit, and going some distance down a narrow and pipe-filled tube that went out under - is it "Little Side"? - towards the old farm and swiming pool. I'm guessing that the pipes took the hot water from the central boiler house? You could (maybe still can?) see where this tunnel goes by the differently coloured grass in a stripe across the pitches, and by the melted line of snow in Winter.

On one occasion I ended up in a little room, with a grill (really can't remember where - except there was some interesting grafitti in there from some legendary previous pupil) - and the room had a fair bit of yellowish fibrous, sparking matter lying around. I have always wondered and worried about whether this was asbestos.. but I was only in there the once... and it was 20+ years ago. (cough)

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Post by palgsm93 » Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:34 pm

paddy wrote:...and the room had a fair bit of yellowish fibrous, sparking matter lying around. I have always wondered and worried about whether this was asbestos.. but I was only in there the once... and it was 20+ years ago. (cough)
Who did that research claiming Old Blues lived longer?!

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Post by Stirling » Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:51 pm

palgsm93 wrote:
paddy wrote:...and the room had a fair bit of yellowish fibrous, sparking matter lying around. I have always wondered and worried about whether this was asbestos.. but I was only in there the once... and it was 20+ years ago. (cough)
Who did that research claiming Old Blues lived longer?!
Is asbestosis good for your health? :shock: :lol:
Stirling Attfield
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1990-1991

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stink bomb

Post by marty » Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:46 pm

I was there when the stink bomb went off...the name you mentioned was touted as the likely culprit. We were always told that this individual was a black belt and used to wander the school dressed in black at night with a master key. Apparently he used it to break into chemistry labs and steal stuff so he could make the stink bombs. Probably all nonsense but amusing anyway. What I do know is true is that he was pretty clever as he had his academic buttons for several subjects and used to get 8 or 9 prizes at prize giving each year...sod...I never got one !!!

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Post by jtaylor » Thu Jan 20, 2005 2:43 pm

Anthony Moss was indeed a very bright guy, and do recall he was quiet and unassuming, but people did wonder what he was capable of, and what he was up to!

I was in the choir, but don't remember that incident - maybe a rehearsal I didn't make it to (and there were quite a few!) I don't remember hearing about it though.

On the subject of chemicals, anyone else remember when we had the bomb disposal guys turn up, to remove a bottle of TNT from the chemistry labs?? Builders were moving a cupboard, and found a bottle behind it. On inspection it was clearly something which would have turned into TNT (sure a chemist will tell me what this might have been?)
Bomb squad turned up, army-man-in-jumper walks into the lab, picks up the bottle, puts it in a padded box.
Taken out to big-side and blown up - quite a bit of entertainment!

J
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Post by graham » Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:13 pm

JTaylor wrote: On the subject of chemicals, anyone else remember when we had the bomb disposal guys turn up, to remove a bottle of TNT from the chemistry labs?? Builders were moving a cupboard, and found a bottle behind it. On inspection it was clearly something which would have turned into TNT (sure a chemist will tell me what this might have been?)
Bomb squad turned up, army-man-in-jumper walks into the lab, picks up the bottle, puts it in a padded box.
Taken out to big-side and blown up - quite a bit of entertainment!
Oh yes, I remember that well. Dr Maddren (is that how his name was spelt? I remember his nickname alright, but won't use it as he was a top bloke!) told me that they (he and some helper) were cleaning out the basement in the old science building and this chap turns to him and says "what's in this old bottle filled with crystals?" Maddren wipes away the dust and sees tri-nitro toluene written on the side. they gentley put the bottle down and run. Apparently it had been made for a demo 50 yrs previously and had been stored in liquid form in the basement and forgotten about. It had crytalised around the rim and trying to open the bottle would have caused it to go off. Very Strange! The bang didn't seem all that big as I remember, and the burnt patch on big side was rather disappointing!

N.B. I may have gotten some of the chemistry wrong there, but it was a long time ago!

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