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Reload this Page ARCHIVE - Manchester Cathedral Steps/Victoria Arches, Feb 2010
Underground Sewers, Culverts, Caves, Mines & Air raid shelters etc.

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ARCHIVE - Manchester Cathedral Steps/Victoria Arches, Feb 2010
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Manchester
Post ARCHIVE - Manchester Cathedral Steps/Victoria Arches, Feb 2010 - 18-02-2010, 21:13

Victoria Arches/Cathedral Steps - Visited by Ojay, Stepping Lightly & Userscott


Situated 'Under' Victoria street between Victoria Bridge St and Hanging Ditch known as Hunts Bank.

My 2nd Visit to the 'Arches' since major fail last time getting in the so called 'Easy' entrance....and getting busted!!!

Having met up once again on a freezing cold night in Manchester, I was now only too familiar with the 'Getting in is not for the faint hearted'..
and guess what you were all right on that account, getting in was tricky to say the least and provided a few more grins thanks to S.L & Userscott who's original plans of pure genius have made it all possible, I have uploaded a fair few photo's, hope you don't mind as it's not everyday you get to see this place! and I know there has also been a fair few reports some old some new as it's well documented on here, but its definately one of Manchesters' finest UrbEx venues.

Anyway thanks for looking

Some History:

Dating back to the 1838 when the Arches were first constructed at a cost of between 60,000 and 100,000.
First advertised in October 1839, the arched vaults under Victoria were offered as being suitable for wine merchants, printers and machine makers.

Since 1840 they have been home to a number of tenants, including Robert Armstrong - Civil Engineer one of the earliest tenants manufacturing Scott's patent boiler cleaners. The electricity department where tests and investigations were made on electrical equipmemt until 1909. It then became home for a transformer station that was used between 1936 and 1957.

Also, in 1907 Thomas Cook & Son setup shop in the premises built onto the Arches by Victoria Bridge. Cook's had expanded by 1921 and were also
renting space at the Southern end of the Arches for offices and storage until 1932.

It's landing stages were also home to the Irwell Excursion which ran from 1895 until around 1901. The Irwell Steam Ferries would run in half hour intervals between 10:30am and 5:30pm to Manchester Docks, via Albert Bridge. There was also a cruise along the newly opened Manchester Ship Canal through Irlam, Lymm, Runcorn and Frodsham to Eastham and special Bank Holiday sailings to Liverpool and New Brighton.

During the War the Arches were converted and used as an Air-raid shelter, new entrances were installed along with flooring, seating and lighting.

Based on National guidelines, the shelter could hold upto 1030 people for 6 hours in unventilated conditions or as many as 5600 in an emergency if ventilated.

The entrances were from Victoria Bridge by a wooden stairway; Victoria Street junction with Fennel St by a flight of steps formed under the pavement (Now Sealed over) and from the Cathedral approach by means of a wooden stairway from the existing conveniences.

The So called 'Cathedral Steps' That once led down from near the Cathedral into the Arches

The total cost of converting the Arches was estimated at 10,150 in 1939 and took around 3 months to complete with additional brick 'blast' walls.

A 500lb MC bomb could perforate and 'blow through' if it made a direct hit over the crown of the arch, however the Arches were deemed 'safe' and suitable for air-raid shelter accommodation.

In the later years access to the Arches was only possible via the steps over the river wall, the northern cartway entrance having being sealed off by 1905.

Main Passageway Through The Arches

To Arches 1,2 & 3

Entrance To Gents Toilets

Window Down To Washroom

Down To Public Convenience

Gents Toilets

Original Toilet Window; Rest In Pieces


Medical Post

To The Arches >

Inside One Of The Arches, Note the Ventilation Ducts


Remnants Of War Time - Air Raid Signage

Previous Use Of The Old Electricity Station

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