Author Topic: Street under Lawrence Road, Bristol  (Read 12967 times)

boycy

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Street under Lawrence Road, Bristol
« on: December 26, 2006, 06:26:54 pm »
Hi all,
According to the Wiki on this site, ACG are the ones to contact for access to the old street underneath Lawrence Road in Bristol. Can anyone give me a contact for getting a trip down there please?

Cheers,
rob

darkplaces

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Re: Street under Lawrence Road, Bristol
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2006, 10:41:39 pm »
I don't think access can be gained any more it was a council + Cave Group thing co-operation several years ago.
You could try axbridgecaver (on this forum).

I am member of ACG by the way.

Offline graham

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Re: Street under Lawrence Road, Bristol
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2006, 10:55:46 pm »
Where do you mean? We might have a contact?
Caving is for Life not just for Christmas

Offline axbridgecaver

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Re: Street under Lawrence Road, Bristol
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2006, 09:25:49 am »
Hi all,
According to the Wiki on this site, ACG are the ones to contact for access to the old street underneath Lawrence Road in Bristol. Can anyone give me a contact for getting a trip down there please?

Cheers,
rob

Not quite correct Rob the wiki states - "A good example is the Lawrence Hill Underground Street documented and visited by the Axbridge Caving Group." We only paid a visit but for interest below is a copy of my trip report; I do not know how one can now obtain access (legally).


Historical – In 1873 a large engine shed and sidings were built in Barrow Road, Lawrence Hill for the Midland Railway Company. At the same time new railway lines were laid through Lawrence Hill and to achieve this they had to raise the height of the road between Ducie Road and the Packhorse Public House. The road was raised by building a series of six railway style arches and putting the road on top. Thus the shop fronts at the old road level were below ground and those on the second floor were then at ground level.

Visit – This visit was ten years ago. I first visited the Packhorse Pub on Lawrence Hill and was given permission to have a look at the cellars as it is rumoured that the Lost Shops can be accessed from these cellars. Down a narrow flight of stairs and the first level of cellars were entered; these are just below the existing road level. They were very dusty and covered in long dirty cobwebs. I was most impressed with the massive fireplace and the iron girder with GWR stamped on it. Then down another flight of stairs to the lower cellar which would have been the original cellar of the Pub (pre 1873). The whole cellar was examined and there is no entrance to the Lost Shops not even signs of a bricked up entrance. Then from another route we gained entrance (I am deliberately not revealing how entry was gained as I am sure that in these paranoid days you would be arrested for gaining entry and a sense of adventure or just wanting to explore Bristol’s History would be no defence in front of the Judge). A climb down a short metal ladder, duck into a short tunnel six feet long, and then a six foot drop and you are in the first tunnel. The tunnel is about 20 feet high and thirty feet wide and stretches the width of Lawrence Hill; this tunnel is the only one that crossed the entire width of the hill the others are blocked with brick walls at different points. To the left and right are old wooden horse troughs and the floor is covered with engineering bricks with a diamond pattern inscribed on them. Looking ahead there are piles of wooden planks that have been dumped and these cover the floor area to a height of three feet, and mixed in with these planks are all sorts of household rubbish. Walking through the tunnel you are confronted with four or five shop fronts some of these still have the Victorian sash windows and all but the last one has been bricked up to prevent access to the existing shops above. As you walk past the shop fronts you pass three other tunnels heading back under Lawrence Hill and all of these tunnels are filled with debris. However it is possible to gain entry to the last shop by climbing through the old window and once again piles of debris even a child’s old pram. There is also a high blue gate installed that blocks off entry to other tunnels but there is a foot high gap at the top and if the gate is climbed you can just squeeze through. The character of the tunnels then changes completely, gone is the debris and the three tunnels leading under Lawrence Hill have been swept clean. This area is below a Bank which is still on Lawrence Hill – I wonder if security cameras or heat/motion sensors have been installed now.

I wound not advise people to explore these tunnels they are not dangerous but you would probably be trespassing.

Other References –

Bristol Evening Post – Bristol Times (Issue 33) – Pages 4 & 5 – 16 Feb 1999 – Detailed article with seven large photographs.
Bristol Evening Post – Bristol Times (Issue 44) – Page 6 - 4 May 1999
The History of Lawrence Hill by David Stephenson


boycy

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Re: Street under Lawrence Road, Bristol
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2007, 07:33:44 pm »
axbridgecaver - cheers, interesting report there. I know of the current street entry point. It's a shame that there's no obvious legal way to gain access. Seeing as I don't really wish to be caught trespassing, what would be the best way to find out the situation here.
Darkplaces or axbridgecaver who in the council did you contact? Would this be a good place to start or is it ridiculously unlikely that I'll get anywhere?

Offline axbridgecaver

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Re: Street under Lawrence Road, Bristol
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2007, 08:12:44 pm »
axbridgecaver - cheers, interesting report there. I know of the current street entry point. It's a shame that there's no obvious legal way to gain access. Seeing as I don't really wish to be caught trespassing, what would be the best way to find out the situation here.
Darkplaces or axbridgecaver who in the council did you contact? Would this be a good place to start or is it ridiculously unlikely that I'll get anywhere?


When I visited the Lost Shops it was a semi official visit with an official from Bristol Council who had a great interest in historical underground sites in Bristol. He left the Council about 8 years ago so this contact no longer exists. I think that an approach to the Council would be fruitless you would get passed around from pillar to post especially in "these days of Health and Safety". I remember from my visit that at the very end of passage you can enter a tunnel that only goes back under the road for half the distance; the end has been blocked off and a large steel locked door installed. I was told that the units opposite The Packhorse may have used this tunnel so it might be worth asking them in a very friendly manner.

Here is a link to some photographs of the Lost Shops -

http://www.c**tplaces.co.uk/phpBB2/album_cat.php?cat_id=99
« Last Edit: January 01, 2007, 08:19:47 pm by axbridgecaver »

boycy

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Re: Street under Lawrence Road, Bristol
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2007, 06:57:47 pm »
Cheers, good piccies there. Sounds like it will probably be a pain, damn the H&S goblins :wall:

One to add to the 'letters I should write' list for a rainy day. Thanks for the info anyway axbridgecaver -- if you do hear of more potential on this in the future I'd love to hear of it  :)