Post Office Tunnels: West Central Street

The End Nightclub & AKA Restaurant

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David Crookes was appointed by a leisure and entertainment client for the refurbishment of a basement site at 16 West Central Street, London WC1. The proposals involved the conversion of the existing basement spaces formerly a Post Office stable for use as a nightclub. In addition a new restaurant with basement space was to be constructed in the adjoining car park.

Early desktop research showed that the proposed basement space was to be constructed in close proximity of the West Central Street Post Office and that the Post Office railway ran diagonally across the site at a depth of approximately 12 metres. Taking account of this, the design was progressed with a basement scheme consisting of deep strip footings which had a formation some 3.5 metres deep in the natural gravel. This involved shuttering the trenches and deep excavation but avoid the use of piling techniques which would have possibly fouled the tunnel.


  • Construction of new basement close to Post Office railway tunnel ran the risk of disturbing the tunnel or breaching it with piles.
  • Disruption of the tunnel would have resulted in legal proceedings against the client.

Design Procedures

  • Carry out desktop research to investigate history of site and search for utilities in site vicinity.
  • Contact Post Office to obtain any record maps and to confirm position of Post Office tunnels.
  • Agree exclusion zones and zones of influence with Post Office and prepare a design which takes these into account.
  • Submit proposals to Post Office and obtain their agreement to the design.