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SECRET TUNNELS OF SALFORD
 

Star date: 24th March 2013

ADELPHI HOUSE CAVES, SECRET WAR TUNNELS AND THE MYSTERY OF THE OLD PINT POT

Underneath Salford exist loads of tunnels – some real and some mythical. Kersal Cell, Salford Cathedral, Ordsall Hall and Whit Lane are all said to be crawling with secret bolt holes and underground escape tunnels.

Here, Alice Darlington lists the legends and investigates the caves of Adelphi House, and possible war prisoner tunnels running from the Crescent to the Bolton and Bury Canal.

Full story here…


Salford Secret Tunnels Photo 2 Salford Secret Tunnels Photo 3 Salford Secret Tunnels Photo 4
Salford Secret Tunnels Photo 5 Salford Secret Tunnels Photo 6 Salford Secret Tunnels Photo 7
click image to enlarge

Tales of forgotten subterranean passageways span cultures and generations. Tunnels and chambers are powerful to our psyche, provoking contradictory instincts, curiosity and fear. Our imagination is drawn to the idea of portals leading to another place or time…

Old tunnels bring forth thoughts of death, risk, and discovery of secret information. Forgotten buildings and tunnels continue to intrigue us. There is a certain morbid appeal seeing forgotten structures in the process of being reclaimed by nature. Crumbling bricks enshrouded by vivid plants seems a sad, but gentle and natural path. Demolition of a historic structure feels very different, the loss ripping a hole eased only by elusive memories.

Manchester has a well-documented maze of tunnels and catacombs, a city built in part on stilts, canals and rivers dropping mysteriously beneath. When roads subside, the supports go in efficiently, and most folk don't realise what's below. But Salford also has its share of tunnels...

There is rumoured to be a passageway from a wooden panel in the Cathedral. Long-standing tales of a bolt hole from Ordsall Hall, and similar accounts about Kersal Cell. The ill-fated Clifton railway tunnel, in-filled after the disaster. And Manchester's monstrous Guardian bunker encroaches into Salford.

Vast mazes of underground canals remain at Worsley. Tales of an iron grating in the Weston's Oil Seals grounds, off Whit Lane, to miles of passages from the time of Agecroft Hall. A freight rail tunnel runs under Regent Road, through Ordsall below Goodiers Drive and St Josephs, then up to the docks. These are just a few of the many forgotten tunnels in Salford.

In the concrete cellars at the rear of Adelphi House there's an odd doorway, set preposterously low down in the wall (see photo 1). Down concrete steps into an arched tunnel with Victorian bricks offering a glimpse of the original house (see photo 2) sloping lower towards the river it abruptly stops, breeze blocked up…

Currently empty and up for sale, the building was the University Media Department. A friend working there had seen the tunnel and taken photos. Later I heard an interesting tale about captured German soldiers, injured and treated at Salford Royal, then transported via a tunnel to the nearby canal.

Adelphi Terrace ran parallel to Adelphi Street, cutting through where Adelphi House stands today. The house has been altered, receding from the rear car park, a tennis court was on the site of the Old Pint Pot Pub.

Adelphi House was a convent school from 1852 to 1977. Records contain no mention of a tunnel, but an ambiguous reference to 'the caves' and girls passing through them. A look behind the Old Pint Pot reveals a door, suspended high in the exterior wall. The door is hidden from view as a drop separates the buildings (see photo 3). Through the door the tunnel leads back to the bricked up wall. This must be 'the caves'.

Looking up the river from the Pint Pot bridge, something juts out from the walls below the pub. Barely visible, two plain stone arches with cables leading in (see photo 4). I wondered if they were remains of the old cellars of Adelphi Terrace. An account by former pupil Winnie Feeney reveals: "At Adelphi School there was an air raid shelter next to the gym. It was part of the school but went below the ground level." An OS map points an arrow to 'the caves', and shows the gymnasium (see photo 5). The air raid shelters will be located to the left of the rear car park.

About those soldiers…a 1935 map (see photo 6) shows the Salford arm of the Bury Bolton canal running up towards Oldfield road in the direction of Adelphi House. If there is a tunnel connecting the house or the hospital it will begin in this area of the canal. The canal is carefully being restored in sections, the Salford basin arm already completed. Phase 2, from Oldfield Road via No.1 tunnel with Windsor Bridge (a distance of 885 metres) is due to finish in 2027. The tunnel is in-filled in parts but a length of it remains open including the entrance (see photo 7). The gaping mouth falling into darkness, having rested for fifty years this tunnel will again see canal traffic.

The retelling of stories is essential to preserving our local history, fuelling our understanding and imagination. If you know a tale about old Salford tunnels please pass it on...

If anyone can shed any light on these tunnels please email us at info@salfordstar.com

Words and photos by Alice Darlington

Main photo is Photo 1 - Adelphi House doorway

See also previous Salford Star story on the hidden nuclear bunker – click here

Julie wrote
at 16:17:51 on 16 July 2017
I need to read through all this a lot more. I was born in that area and have lots of ancestors who lived there, but have never lived there when old enough to remember. I do feel that part of me was there once, belonged there, maybe in another lifetime. There is a sadness and sense of poverty with the most precious thing in the world seeping through it, and Lowry represents all that; I had been looking at his paintings in the quayside gallery and the following night his images entered my dreams and also an old Tudor beam house, and I did wonder if Lowry painted a Tudor beam house? I was just wandering around Salford and found it all fascinating, but I got lost and very tired a lot and thank you to the kind people who called out to me pointing out a path when I thought I had come to a dead end walking along the canal side.
 
Paul wrote
at 06:37:25 on 11 July 2017
Very odd stumbled across my own comment from 3 years ago to the day, does any one know any info on Knolls House on Bury New Road tunnel entrance?
 
Anne birch wrote
at 08:07:40 on 30 May 2016
I felt I had to Google this because in Dec 2012 I was in Salford royal with a serious brain hemorrhage, after my operation, I was on strong medication and put these dreams down to medication, hallucination, but I was convinced I had gone down some tunnel under the hospital, crazy I know, but the tunnels were just as described on here I had never heard of tunnels that. Would have set me off dreaming, I had never heard of Salford tunnels, these visions are still clear in my mind, I also thought there were nurses dressed in 1800 style uniforms, some that could not speak English? What these dreams or visions ment I have no idea, but very weird I'm from Wigan.:(
 
Andy Mitchell wrote
at 15:40:10 on 14 December 2015
Hi ANNIE, there was a rumour years ago of a tunnel running from Higher Broughton, The Old Priory Pub (now demolished)to Kersal Cells and there was a well found in the grounds of the pub in about 1979 when we lived there. Never found evidence of the tunnels.
 
John keever wrote
at 07:53:17 on 15 December 2014
My Uncle in the late 1980s found a old World War 1 medal next to the old Kersal cells cleaned it up found out who and where the soldier lived took it back to him after him loosing the medal all those years ago the man broke down in Tears left him with his medal Love my uncle
 
reginald pearson rostock wrote
at 07:02:05 on 23 October 2014
Iwasin the 2/9th salford scouts and we went into Kersal cells to clean it out just at the end of the war .We went down to the well in the cellar,but were told that the tunnels had been blocked off by the home guard.they went apparently to the cathedral and over to Agecroft graveyard,
 
Annie wrote
at 12:29:45 on 11 September 2014
I remember my Great Grandad telling me about a tunnel that ran from a house/manor and came out in a garden? There was also mention of a well in this garden. Not sure where he meant but I do believe it was in Salford. Do you know anything? It would be interesting to know where he meant.
 
Paul wrote
at 09:25:39 on 11 July 2014
Message to Bernard Brough your comments are the only ones about the tunnel on bury new rd,i remember being told about the story in school,i can't find any info at all,i remember seeing a photo on someoe stood next to a hole in his basement wall leading to the tunnel.
 
rick holt wrote
at 09:43:01 on 29 August 2013
Hi,reverting back to the original Adephi house,the arches behind the Pint Pot at river level are from the original works Sir James Farmer used in his first factory.Previously a cotton mill,there was a water wheel in that position,used to drive the mill machinery.However,I also heard of tunnels when i worked there in the 70's.From the river bank on Peel park,you can see a few arched doorways just lower down than Peru st,in the wall on the Adelphi st side.The building that stood between the two gates there was used during WW2 by the ARP as a mortuary and the windows were still taped up with Union Jack designs up to it being demolished.
 
andy work wrote
at 13:58:31 on 11 April 2013
hi,,im very interrested in seeing the pictures u said u had of the tunnels under ordsall where the super market has just bin built,cheers,,me and my friend are in the he tunnels,,we are waiting for info of where the tunnel is under ordsall hall because my friends grandad has bin in it when he was a kid many years ago,,iff u could,can u email me the pics u have and i will email u what i have,,many thank,my email address is andyatwork452@yahoo.co.uk
 
tony flynn wrote
at 15:50:42 on 10 April 2013
If not exaggerated even!
 
tony flynn wrote
at 13:14:17 on 10 April 2013
Regarding the air shaft outside Salford University, I was told it was for the use in drying fabrics at the University Department and nothing to do with tunnels, blimey it would be a big 'un to reach Manchester! Greatly exagerrated methinks!
 
Anne Fernie wrote
at 11:31:30 on 10 April 2013
The oriental 'temple' structure at the front of Peel Park campus (Uni Salford) is an air shaft leading to the underground tunnel that leads into central Manchester and (I think) connects to the underground bunker at the old telephone exchange building.
 
simon wrote
at 06:53:02 on 10 April 2013
Theres one.under bury market from old police station
 
Bernard Brough wrote
at 18:25:35 on 28 March 2013
I interviewed a woman who lived in a house on Singleton Rd about twenty five years ago. She showed me part of a tunnel that ran under her house. There was at the time tunnels under Knolls House on Bury New Road. There was a map in circulation at that time showing parts of the tunnel along Bury New Road that had been discovered.
 
Dougie wrote
at 12:54:41 on 28 March 2013
HI there poster White, so another pub is connected to a church, very handy for a swift holy pint or two! Yes the bulls Head on Station Road, it is said to be haunted, a ghost is after a lock in. Also stories about tunnels emerging out on the cliff from Manchester town centre.
 
White wrote
at 11:02:28 on 28 March 2013
Dougie There were also stories of a tunnel from the White Horse in Swinton. The trouble is that I can't remember where this rumoured tunnel was said to lead to!
 
Dougie wrote
at 17:14:56 on 27 March 2013
i remember as a kid the tunnel under Regent road, the entrance was beside the gas storage tanks, it was partially bricked up, but we walked the distance in the dark, it was blocked at the other end. ALSO, i am sure i heard the was a tunnel between the Bulls Head pub in Swinton, and the church, very handy indeed. cheers.
 
Lee Craven MBE wrote
at 13:43:32 on 25 March 2013
Message to Tom Nolan, Hi Tom, I can assure you there is no Tunnel from the church Inn to St Thomas Church Pendleton as a former Church Warden and now Deputy and attending the church for 34 years, The Myths of this via the locals is untrue, looking back to when St Thomas was built back in 1831 there's no evidence what so ever Tom, Sorry about this,your always welcome to come and look in the Crypt to see for yourself,any Wednesdat from 9.00 -11.00 am
 
David Lowther wrote
at 07:20:09 on 25 March 2013
the entrance to the tunnel from the docks under ordsall was blocked up in the 70's i think...it showed up when Morrissons was built..arched tunnel ceiling...train tracks and raised platform/footpaths either side.but filled in to make way for the supermarket...got some photos.....it's exit...on middlewood locks was blocked by the council last year..
 
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 07:17:32 on 25 March 2013
let's open them up ,would make a great tourist attraction. just don't let this labour council any where near them, they don't like history.
 
Lee Craven MBE wrote
at 16:33:42 on 24 March 2013
Thanks Salford Star for yet another great story, never knew of these but very interesting, love the secrets of Old Salford, "Keep up the good work you do"
 
tom nolan wrote
at 16:33:38 on 24 March 2013
we are trying to locate the supposed tunnel that leads from the church inn to the church pedleton..
 
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