Tideswell Tunnels Part 2

Tunnels under Swarbricks Shop Tideswell

So,It has been a couple of weeks now since I first posted the question on Youtube about Tunnels under the Peak District village of Tideswell.  After an initial swell of interest, I think it’s fair to say that interest levels have now cooled off considerably.

However, I did manage to have a very useful conversation with Tideswell Parish  Councillor Philip Swarbrick.   His Grandfather used to own “Swarbricks Shop”.  Today the shop is a private residence.

Swarbricks Shop

Swarbricks Shop – Tideswell Site of a subterranean Tunnel

The previous owner attests to having been in the tunnel

Phil told me that the 100% knows that there are Tunnels under Tideswell, because “He has been in one of them”.

Phil proceeded to tell me about his days as a youngster spent in his grandfathers’ shop. He said that underneath the grids at the front of the shop is part of the cellar where his grandfather used to keep Coal and logs.  He told me that in that cellar there used to be a large Zinc Plate on the wall.  The very presence of that Zinc Plate nagged at Philip’s subconscious, he wanted to know why it was there.  He kept telling me that as a curious young boy, he just couldn’t understand why there was a zinc plate on the wall, he wanted to know what it was covering up.

So one-day Curiosity got the better of him and he plucked up courage and pulled the Zinc sheet off the wall.   Behind the metal sheet was a hole in the wall, which, when he climbed through it opened onto a “5 ft tall barrel-shaped tunnel”, he ventured in.

Philip told me that the Tunnel went straight back, towards the Cliff then took a turn to the left. Given the position of Swarbrick’s show left would have led up past the back of the “Bulls Head”.  He said he got a short way into the Tunnel with a torch but then came to a part where it had caved in.

This is where common sense got the better of curiosity and he turned back.   A short time later Philip’s father who was running the shop above decided he needed more room, he was aware that there was a cavity at the back of the shop because the lower floor went further back.  Phil’s father knocked through the wall, that was behind the shop counter.

Behind that wall they found a cavity room with a large hole in the floor.  The hole, went down into the Tunnel that Phil had discovered. Phil tells me that the hole provided the perfect place to dump the rubble from the shop alteration, and so the tunnel was filled in at that point.

I do not know who owns the house at the moment, but I would like to know and would like to get in touch with them, to see if any traces of evidence remain.

The story doesn’t stop there though.  A Neighbour “John Allen” who lived just two doors down from Swarbricks’ added his anecdote on the “Tideswell People group on facebook”

Didn’t they discover a tunnel a number of years back, beneath what was The Medeira House Restaurant, when doing renovations. But elected to just cover it up w/out investigation? I remember hearing something like that, because I was surprised and disappointed that there’d not been any investigation of where it led to.

I also remember, as a kid, that a tunnel of some kind was found beneath the floor of the old out buildings behind Hudson’s butchers shop (Markeygate House) which is, of course, right next to Hilly Swarbrick’s old shop. I remember watching Keith Hudson and some of his friends climb down through a hole in the floor using a caving ladder“.

So, the plot thickens. That now makes two people who have told me they have been inside a subterranean tunnel in Tideswell. I also know of a couple of claimants who have since passed on.   I prepared a letter and delivered it to some of the properties that I suspect may have a Tunnel, the response has been underwhelming, to say the least.  No one has gotten in content with me.  I still have two very Important ones to deliver though.

Diagram depicting approximate tunnel position

Here is a reproduction of a diagram Phil Swarbrick made for me of the old layout of the shop.  Please note, the 3d model isn’t to scale as I’m not an expert with the software, but I made it based on a loose sketch made by Philip Swarbrick. It is designed to give you the basic gist of the layout.  It’s a split level diagram, you can see the false wall with the hole in the floor leading to the tunnel and you can see the metal plate on the wall with the tunnel going backwards toward the cliff.

Split level Diagram showing the location of a Tunnel under Swarbrick's Shop

Split level Diagram showing the location of a Tunnel under Swarbrick’s Shop

If anyone has any more information about Tunnels in Tideswell, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  This is something that the whole village needs to know about.  It’s our hidden heritage.

Tunnels Under Tideswell Part 1 |  Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

22 thoughts on “Tideswell Tunnels Part 2

  1. Phil what a brilliant story thanks to Phil Swarbrick and to your hard work keep it coming it is so interesting I am Loveing it all.

  2. Hi, I’m Claire, and I now live in and own The Shambles. I’ve just had this link sent to me, so I’m now going to investigate! Please get in touch if you want to investigate yourself! Just knock on my door. It’d be fascinating to discover more…

    • Hi Claire,I did call rind at your house last week. I had a letter to post explaining about this , there was a Scottish lady in the garden. was that you?

  3. I believe there are also tunnels under the old club (Cross daggers) which led to the church which the monks used to use to access the building before it all changed! worth looking into. Good luck

  4. Hi Sallie, I heard this too but there seems to be no verifiable source at this point in time. I’m hoping to get hold of an old document about the Church and it’s construction.

  5. Hi Phil

    No, it wasn’t me. I’m not Scottish! Why didn’t you post the letter, then I’d have got in touch with you? Are you sure you were in MY garden?! I’m around Tues and Thursday evening this week. Hopefully, catch you soon.

  6. Hi Phil, am really enjoying the tunnels talk, your enthusiasm is contagious. You mentioned in one of your posts a blue book. I think this must be the History of Tideswell (or a similar title), by W Walker. My mum has our copy, she was from Cressbrook and believes every household received on at the time of the coronation. Her copy has a cream and gold coronation sticker on the inside cover. Anyway, keep up the good work and are you still planning to do something for Wakes? If so will keep my eyes peeled when we come up.

  7. Phil, your Diagram showing the location of a Tunnel under Swarbrick’s Shop looks very much like a tunnel and bunker systems i helped de-commision whilst i was in the RAF. It was in Princessrisborough in Bucks (6 miles from both RAF Halton & HQ Bomber Cmd RAF HighWycombe), the bunker room , which looks just like your drawing, was built under ground, about 30 feet down, at the rear of a pub. The entrance tunnel started in the pub cellar.
    The bunker had been unknown till they it was descovered due to building work. It had been built in the early 1940’s as secret arms stores. (I only got involved in exploring it at the request of local police as was stationed nearby and workmen had found some documents about RAF airfirlds)
    On a time team special about Hern Hill in London just dealing with the 1940’s. the team discovered what at first they thought was a private air raid shelter, but was in fact a command centre for Churchills Secret Army. The Offical British Resistance set up in 1940. It also looks like your tunnel and the one i went in.
    Might your one under the shop be also a resistance command bunker ? If who ever was the shop keeper was in the early 40’s single or had no family, as most members of the resistance had no family that could be used against them. Or any ‘building work ‘ carried out by workmen, not from the Tideswell area in the village in the early 40’s ?

  8. Pingback: Tideswell Tunnels – Part 3 | A Tideswellman's Weblog

  9. hi phil my name is miranda pennock and i lived at devonshire house. ther is a there is a small nook in the cellar which was a momks hide hole and there is deffinately a tunnel from devonshire house to the church. My family lived there for a along time. I know that cellar like the back of my hand though how don’t how the path runs as it was blockrd up before i was born. My dad (Derek Pennock) did tell me he did some of the blocking but i don’t know how much of that is true. if I can be of any help please contact me.

  10. Pingback: Tideswell Tunnels Part 4 | A Tideswellman's Weblog

  11. Hi , I now live in Cornwall, but during the 1980`s , I was living in Calver village , my ex husband and I looked at a shop which was for sale , this was around 1983/4 . I remember well that there were tunnels, lots of tunnels under the shop which were fascinating and we went down into them . For many years , my memory told me that the shop was in Eyam , but I now believe that it may well have been the shop in Tideswell , Swarbricks . Thank you for your blog , I had begun to think I had imagined it !

      • Glad to have confirmed that I am not imagining this fascinating house , as some younger family members thought I must be ,

    • This is a fantastic response…Sorry I missed it till now.

      You know so many people laugh at me regarding these tunnels. Many people mock the very possibility.
      It’s great to hear from people who are prepared to speak out about the tunnels. I can’t understand all the secrecy.

  12. Hi Phil, you won’t remember me, I went to school with your Mum & her sister, I am Ken Gilbert’s sister, I’ve just found this site, very interesting’. Now re Hilly Swarbrick & his family, Peter was older than me but Phil his brother was my age, he, sadly, died far too young, we were all good friends & I spent many hours at his house, the lower level floor where the grating is, by the front door, was their kitchen with a cellar somewhere at the rear, same level, never went in there, but often there were spoken whispers of tunnels, which came from the cave in Monksdale (the Blanket hole) where the Monks ‘lived’ ! they were said to walk to the church, the old one, roughly on or near the site of St Johns Church, so that would be pre 12th century, the tunnels then were said to go to the Cross Daggers site (Ex servicemens club) ( to my knowledge at least 3 buildings on this site have burned down – is this strange ???) I am now thinking back to my childhood, hearing stories that the land in this area was consecrated, stories which must have been passed down for centuries, Where did they bury their dead then?, & over the years many many locals have talked about tunnels, Monks & odd goings on smuggling & illicit brewing,etc. Hudsons Butchers plus many of the cottages going toward the church are supposed to be as old if not older than the church, it is feasible to assume that there were/are tunnels in this area. The RAF gentleman who wondered if the lower floor of the shop could have been used as a Resistance Command Bunker, is probably a bit doubtful, I am sure Mr Swarbrick had his Gents outfitters there during the war, Mrs Swarbrick was a District Nurse, sure Pete would be in the forces & Phil at school & these were the years we all played together at the house, I do not remember the house being occupied by anyone else until Peter & Joan took over I guess on Mr Swarbricks retirement. Hope this reaches you & you can understand my memories, but thought they would fill a few small gaps. Margaret Oakley ( GILBERT)

  13. Pingback: Tunnels under Tideswell | Tideswellman – Derbyshire Blogger & Fellrunner

  14. Pingback: Tideswell Tunnels – Part 3 | Tideswellman – Derbyshire Blogger & Fellrunner

  15. Pingback: Tideswell Tunnels Part 4 | Tideswellman – Derbyshire Blogger & Fellrunner

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