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| September 22, 2018

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Someone Has Created A Map of Brighton’s Secret Underground Tunnels

Brighton Tunnel
Pete Humphreys

A group of Brighton residents are working together to create a map of the city’s underground tunnels and vaults.

The self-described group of “enthusiastic explorers” say that they are researching Brighton’s long lost underground.

They aim to delve deep beneath Brighton’s streets, exposing its huge infrastructure of vaults and tunnels, and collate the information in a map.

Interested visitors can already go on the Royal Pavilion’s Basement and Tunnel Tour to discover the underground tunnels used by King George IV to visit the riding school and stables, now better known as the Brighton Dome.

It was originally thought that these secret passageways were used to meet his illegal wife, Maria Fitzherbert but this is inaccurate, as the tunnel was built in 1821, long after their relationship ended.

In fact the tunnel was used so that he could see his beloved horses away from the prying eyes of the general public.

Other sites marked on the map include potential tunnels running from the Old Ship Hotel to the beach, and from The Tempest Arms – which dates back to the 17th Century – to the basements of West Street.

Various coal holes which could indicate underground vaults are also marked on the map.

Andrew Pusey

Site Creator Andrew Pusey Explores A Tunnel Under Toni & Guy

Site creator Andrew Pusey said: “I launched the website first thing yesterday morning, and have had over 10,000 hits already. I started getting interested in tunnels when I lived in London and worked for a small company near Upper Street and we found an old tunnel in the basement, it was blocked off but we think it may have gone down to the river Fleet.

“Then in 1986 I was working in the Reject Shop (62-63) East st, my manager brought some plans of the building down to the basement, we noticed something strange with the front wall of the building so we set about knocking a hole in it.

“What we found shocked us, it was a large underground vaulted chamber with lots of smaller arches inside. This got me wondering what else was under Brighton’s streets.

“I put a post on Facebook’s Brighton-Past group asking if anyone knew anything.

“To my surprise we got a few hundred responses to this post and I decided that someone needs to try and document these vaults before they are all blocked up and lost.

“We are trying to find out if these vaults and tunnels are widespread, if they were originally linked up and how they relate to the ancient history of Brighton.”

Check out the map below and if you have any discoveries to add visit Underground Brighton’s forum:

Photo: Les Chatfield

Comments

  1. Rob Simmons

    Hi,
    there are 2 tunnels I know about. 1st is under the Royal Sovereign Pub Preston Street which runs toward Brunswick Sq. The Tunnel was bricked up in early 2003 after the pub being Refurb. the 2nd tunnel is located at 10 Richmond Place. My family lived there in the early part of the 20th Century and used to tell story’s about how the tunnel was haunted by a white lady, it was said it led to the Royal Pavillion.

    Hope this helps keep up the good work.

    Rob

  2. mick matthews

    When i was a kid aged 10 we moved to the flats at Bristol Gate spent my young years knocking about in Kemptown was 1956 always heard stories/rumours of tunnels leading dowm from the properties along the front, from Royal Crescent through to Lewes Crescent. We never found any exits on to the front, only the big one from Lewes Crescent gardens, which we used to use as shortcut. Thinking about it now i feel sure there must have been a lot from those properties to the beach before the top road was finalised i can only think of maybe down into the Volks workshop. the old rifle range by the bottom of Burlington Street maybe into the lower arches underneath Dukes Mound. Maybe contact Southern Water regards the entrances to their systems under the undercliff and their complex at the Roedean Cafe/ coast road

  3. erol

    I worked at the royal York some years ago night security looking after the building. I went down to the basement and found hidden arches which had been bricked up with old handcuffs attached makes me think these were holding cells years back .

  4. Adrian J Andrews

    I have several of these supposed tunnels on my Ghost Tour of Kemp Town. The first we encounter is a blocked up tunnel in the cellar of the King’s Arms, George Street that seems to run towards the sea. The Marlborough Hotel (Princes Street) allegedly has two. One linking it to the Pavilion and another linking it to the old ‘Queen’s Head’ in Steine Street. (Now Bar Broadway). The latter has THREE! One to the Pavilion, the one linking it to The Marlborough (both were brothels) and a supposed smuggler’s tunnel heading off to the beach. Finally, the Marine Tavern (13 Broad Street). I have seen this and the King’s Arms personally. Again, it’s bricked up and like the one at the King’s Arms, a body is buried indside it.

  5. Mark

    I had a friend who lived on Devonshire Place. We once went exploring through a door under outside her basement apartment that went under the road. The tunnels were full of bits of broken crockery. We followed the tunnel downhill towards New Stein and then there was like a junction with the left side bricked up so we turned right (must’ve been under St James St) and continued for ages. We all spooked ourselves when the we came across a bit of flooring that looked swept clean with 2 steps leading up to a door at the end of the tunnel. Behind the door was an old fashioned toilet that looked immaculately clean – there was no other apparent way to get to this part so we literally all turned around and ran back out!

  6. If you visit https://www.facebook.com/ghostwalkofthelanes/ you will find some current postings on Brighton tunnels

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