Although there were
two tunnel shelters built in Portsdown, it was the Wymering tunnel
shelter that received all of the publicity, especially during
the war years. Only much later can clues to its location be found in
the media. The
Portsmouth City records often mention the two shelters collectively, but
never reveal the precise location of the London Road tunnel shelter.
I located the London Road shelter by studying the
Wymering Shelter layout, and then applying this to suitable locations in
London Road. The only real candidate was an old chalk quarry, formerly a
caravan park, but now containing permanent housing - Cliffdale Gardens.
access road leads up to a chalk cliff face, and behind a car park at the
top is a back filled recess in the base of the cliff. However, the back
filling is some 12 inches short from the roof, and it is just possible to see
the blocked off, east escape route, located just inside. The roof of the tunnel is quite low,
due to the back-filling of the area.
finding the shelter, I have had the location confirmed by several locals
who actually used the shelter as children during WWII, and from plans
provided by Portsmouth City Museums. Most people it
seems, walked several miles each night to make use of its protection.
I finally managed to find the
Main Entrance, backfilled, covered up and
hidden behind some dense undergrowth, 50 yards to the West of the East
Because the London Road shelter is in such good condition
and is technically accessible, there have been calls by some local people
to open it up to the public on a limited basis. I am personally against
this for the following reasons: