I’m still burried into my preparation for NaNoWriMo but yesterday I took a little break to do something I’ve wanted to do for years: visiting a subterranean shelter from World War 2. It’s still linked with my novel, as scenes of it will happen in a similar location. Research was therefore a good excuse to do it 🙂
I booked the ticket quite a long time ago, because these visits are very popular. Fortunately, I was quick enough to snatch the last ticket to the Clapham South visit! The visit was over an hour, with a guide from Hidden London, and 2 people dedicated to ensure your safety and that you don’t get lost in the tunnels (it’s a labyrinth in there). I learned A LOT! I had no idea that these shelters had been digged by hand, for example. Nor that there was a plan to link them after the war and make an express Northern Line under the current line.
Plus the atmosphere in there is something I will use in my novel. You go down 180 steps, it feels slightly claustrophobic and you think about people fleeing bombs down there, carrying their mattresses and meager possessions. You hear the trains passing above you every 2 minutes and imagine trying to sleep in these conditions. You walk these long tunnels, still smelling like paint and damp, hearing the echoing on the walls and thinking how scary that time must have been. It produced vivid images in my mind, I can’t wait to put them on paper.
Some people on Twitter were interested, so here’s a few pictures of the visit!