Wrong again. The Tunnel between the Tower and the Winter Gardens… solved?

Bit out of my line this but I’ve always been interested in the alleged tunnel between the Winter Gardens and the Tower.

I have  always been a tunnel sceptic.  The Winter Gardens are on raised ground so a tunnel between the Tower and the Winter Gardens would be difficult.  I assumed  people were mistaking the tunnel  between the Palace and the Tower for a tunnel to the Winter Gardens.  And as Colin Reed who has been on many archaeological explorations says: “There’s always a tunnel.”

So I would have bet good money that there was no tunnel between the Tower and the Winter Gardens.

Well I was wrong.  Or technically I was right.

Harry Luby


The mystery was solved in Great Yarmouth where I met Harry Luby.  Harry worked as an apprentice  carpet fitter in the Winter Gardens and he recalls in 1959 when he was 16 he used the tunnel… or two tunnels… to transport material from the Winter Gardens to the Tower. Things were moved on a battery powered three wheeler… a bit like a milk float. Yes two tunnels.  So technically I was right there was not a tunnel from the Winter Gardens to the Tower.  There was a tunnel from the Tower to Tower Street and another tunnel from Tower Street to the Winter Gardens.  Tower Street, now a car park in keeping with Blackpool Corporation’s policy of changing all buildings of interest into car parks, was an intriguing area of Blackpool and included the wonderful Galleon and a forbidding Dickensian looking building that was an administrative area and warehouse for the Winter Gardens and the Tower.  I recall looking at it and thinking I would not be surprised if Bob Cratchit came out the door. I don’t think it really was Victorian.


Adelaide Street 49 to 59 & Tower Street 28 Feb 1938 env104


The corner of Tower Street and Adelaide Road

Harry recalls that these tunnels were nine foot wide and six foot tall and that the route from the Tower to Tower Street was more straightforward than the route from Tower Street to the Winter Gardens which may have had to contend with sewage and water pipes and a steep incline.  There were actually two tunnels so that you could not go directly from the Tower to the Winter Gardens.  The tunnels were on two different levels.

So problem solved.  Isn’t it?

I would not be truthful if I did not say I enormously enjoyed Blackpool Illuminati Exposed.  Which says that Blackpool’s tunnels form a pentangle.  Hey Ho.


Many thanks to Harry Luby and the indefatigable staff at Blackpool Local and Family History Centre.





  1. Could have saved you the trip, lad. My brother-in-law was head cellar-man at the Winter Gardens 20 or so years ago & showed me the tunnel. The only reason we didn’t walk it was my then 2 year old daughter, who happened to be with me at the time, was very frightened of being underground in the dark…


      1. Thanks Dave… if my guy was right it connected to the warehouse in tower street and another tunnel connected the warehouse to the tower. I long to find evidence to confirm this. Thanks so much for your help.


    1. Hello Roy…. should emphasise that I’m by no means certtain about this but Tower Building was only a hop skip from the Olympus and the cellars were very extensive and possibly went beyond the building and I would guess that the WG management for various reason would not want this known widely…. security for one thing… so the entrance could have been over quite a wide area in the cellars under the winter gardens. I think there may well have been extra underground work done during the war. Thanks for your interest. Martin


      1. Most of the full time staff of the old Blackpool Tower Company were made redundant when First Leisure took over from EMI in the 1980s. Obviously any first hand knowledge went with them.


      2. I did find the account I heard compelling because he I met him by coincidence and he started talking without any prompting not knowing that I was interested. Although I am not convinced either way I would like to hear more Winter Gardens Staff… because of time we need to get a move on… I might appeal for information again. Best wishes Martin.


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