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Is James Bond taking over London’s secret WWII underground tunnels?

The once secret Kingsway Exchange Tunnels are set to be transformed into a cultural space and open to the public for the first time since World War II. And rumours are that a 007 exhibit is part of planned transformation of the tunnels into an underground museum.


30 years ago this week, Pierce Brosnan was unveiled as the new James Bond to the world’s press, taking over from Timothy Dalton as 007.  

Now, as we all await a new announcement on the identity of the seventh actor to portray the famous spy – with rumours that Aaron Taylor-Johnson could be the next performer to don the tux – there is mounting speculation that a new James Bond exhibition could be arriving to London.  

This teased exhibition would be part of the transformation of Kingsway Tunnels, some of London’s secret wartime tunnels. 

The Kingsway Tunnels run 40 metres under High Holborn, below Chancery Lane Tube station. They cover about 7,000 square metres and were used to shelter Londoners during the Blitz in WWII, before being utilised as a telecommunications centre for the Special Operations Executive (SOE). 007 creator Ian Fleming referenced these very same tunnels in his first Bond book « Casino Royale » in 1953 – as Fleming was a liaison officer to the SOE at the time.

The tunnels were then taken over by British Telecom and closed in the early Eighties.

Last year the tunnels were bought by Australian fund manager Angus Murray, who invested about £12 million (€14 million) of his own money and additional funding from his private equity company, which operates under the name of his fund, Castlestone Management LLC, to purchase them. All of this with a £220 million (€260 million) plan to turn the tunnels into a tourist attraction “as iconic as the London Eye.”

They could be transformed into a new cultural space after private equity-backed developers London Tunnels Ltd applied to the City of London Corporation and Camden council for planning permission.

The space would house an area for « medium-term exhibitions on themes such as James Bond » and a 007 exhibition would be part of the first openings.

There are also reports suggesting that developers are exploring partnerships with other cultural institutions in London – including the British Museum and the Imperial War Museum.

There have been no official timelines as of yet, but last year, the date of 2027 was floated as it would give enough time for the restoration and construction to be complete.

Bond goes underground? Not the best title for a new film, but certainly feels fitting.

Additional sources • Evening Standard, CNN

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