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.
Phil told me that he 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 subconcious, 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 Swarbricks 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 ware that there was a cavity at the back of the shop because the lower floor went further back. Phils 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.
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 jist of the layout. It’s a split level digram, 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.
If anyone has anymore 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.