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London tunnels could be transformed into a hotel

23 October 2008 by

A network of tunnels running beneath central London which were used as deep air-raid shelters during the Second World War could soon be transformed into a hotel after they were put up for sale for an estimated £5m.

The Kingsway Tunnels, built in 1940, have also been used as a military headquarters, a library and to house the telephone exchange linking the presidents of the USA and the USSR during the Cold War.

The tunnels were put up for sale by current owner BT last week.

Access to the mile-long system of horizontal and vertical shafts is through unmarked doors in High Holborn, and the site is fully equipped with electricity, water supply and ventilation equipment.

The first hotel chain to express an interest was pod-style group Yotel, which is known for its unorthodox approach to hotel building and location, although it has balked at the hefty price tag.

Chief executive Gerard Greene told Caterersearch: "We're as interested in this as in any other site in central London, but it's way too expensive at the moment.

"Of course, the major issue we need to look at is whether or not people would sleep 100ft underground. But since people sleep thousands of feet in the air in aeroplanes, I don't see why not."

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By Gemma Sharkey

E-mail your comments to Gemma Sharkey here.

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