Engaging with Communications

Follow on social media .....

Guardian Telephone Exchange

Manchster’s secret underground nuclear bunker and telephone exchange.

Grid reference:

Map showing one of the entrances to Manchester's underground Guardian Telephone Exchange

Picture of the entrance to the underground exchange complex off George Street.
The George Street entrance to the underground Guardian Telephone exchange complex.

The Guardian Telephone Exchange was an underground exchange built in 1954 under an area the city which is now the China Town district. It was similar in concept to the Anchor Exchange in Birmingham and the Kingsway exchange in London, all developed during the Cold War period where the threat of nuclear war was at its highest levels.

At some 30m below the surface, the Guardian exchange and network of tunnels was totally self-sufficient for drinking water having access to an artesian well. The tunnels themselves are approximtaely 2m in diameter and connected with two major telephone exchange buildings in nearby York Street and through a cable tunnel under the city centre to Dial House in Salford. There were two remote entry points on Chapel Street in Salford and in Ardwick.

Today the Guardian Exchange is dormant but the tunnel complex remains in use for carrying fibre optic communication cables.