Drakelow Tunnels

 

Friday September 6th 2019

9 pm - 2 am

Drakelow Tunnels

Kidderminster

£27.99 Per Person


 In mid-April 1941, the Ministry of Aircraft Production informed the Treasury of their intention to build an underground factory of 250,000 sq ft (23,000 m2) in sandstone hills at Drakelow, Wolverley, near the village of Kinver and the town of Kidderminster, for use by "one of the engine or gun factories in the Coventry or Birmingham area". The cost of the facility was estimated at £285,000. Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners were contracted to supervise the construction, which began in June 1941 with a provisional completion date of 6 July 1942.

Drakelow, originally called "Drakelow Underground Dispersal Factory", was designated Rover No. 1D factory (the D referring to 'Dispersal'). The first machine tools were installed in November 1942 and full production was achieved in May 1943. The main output was parts for Mercury and Pegasus radial engines, respectively used in aircraft such as the Bristol Blenheim and Sunderland flying boat.


The underground factory consisted of a number of tunnels laid out in a grid system. The main tunnels, numbered 1 to 4, were each 18 ft (5.5 m) wide and 16 ft (4.9 m) high. These were mainly used for access and movement of materials. Smaller cross-tunnels provided the main workshop and storage space. The total area occupied by the works was 53.34 acres. The tunnels had a floor area of 284,931 sq ft (26,471.0 m2), of which 85,507 sq ft (7,943.9 m2) was not required by Rover and was used as an RAF stores area. There were also a number of surface buildings which included a boiler house, coal stores, electricity sub stations and a fire station.[5]

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