During the 2nd world war shelter access in Bristol was limited and in an effort to make things a little less cramped both the Clifton Rocks Railway and Bridge Valley Road Tunnel were converted into deep shelters. The CRR is already well known about due to its previous history and its use by the BBC as a provisonal transmission base should all above ground be blitzed.
Bridge Valley Road was cramped, damp and smelly by all accounts. It was the last resort when Clifton Rocks Railway was full to capacity. The tunnel was part of the original Bristol Docks railway which ran along the edge of the gorge and up to where the steam ferries docked initially.
The railway closed in the early 1930’s and the tunnels remained disused until the 2nd world war started. One of the other tunnels was used as document storage by the council.
After the war the shelter was converted later on for part use as a rifle range. This closed about 15 years ago and the place has decayed and water seeps in.
From WW2 peoples War…….During the time I was off work Bristol and Avonmouth were being bombed at night. My Father thought that living so close to the docks was dangerous so he took us to a disused tunnel on the Portway, near the ‘Clifton Suspension Bridge. We found that this was a very popular thing to do, the whole of the tunnel was like a camping site with tents pitched the whole length of the tunnel, and it proved to be a very safe place to be. Dennis Small