A trip inside the Camberwell Submarine
An oddity in Akerman Road, SW9
(Photos/words © urban75, April/Aug 2007)
Stuck in a small island on a little strip of dual carriageway in Akerman Road, SW9 is this curious building.
Known locally as the 'Camberwell Submarine' on account of its nautical lines, the structure has baffled people for years.
Some people thought it was a ventilation shaft for the tube (even though the nearest line is a mile and a half away), while others suspected it could be some forgotten defence relic from the Cold War era.
The Camberwell Submarine in all its nuclear sub-esque glory.
There's an entrance at either end - I came in through the door at the northern end.
By chance, a maintenance worker was on site, and he kindly invited me in to take a look around. The mystery of the Camberwell Submarine will be solved!
Stepping through the entrance.
Ground level view by the door. The stairs are to the right.
Concrete stairs lead two floors down to the subterranean boiler room.
The electronics control panel.
Cables and amp meters for controlling the cooling fans.
The boiler room is fairly substantial.
The high pressure gas boilers are used to heat two council estates nearby.
Lots of valves and cool dials for monitoring important things.
The main boiler room from the far end. In the background is the door and windows of the control room (where I came in).
Looking up the stairs from the boiler room floor.
Back on the surface. The concrete structure acts as ventilation shafts for the boilers lurking deep below ground.
Get there quick!
Described elsewhere as looking like a, "a nuclear submarine, with a model of the mountain from Close Encounters on each end" the future for this unusual structure looks in doubt.
A recent Lambeth Planning statement proposed removing one side of the dual carriageway and removing the "submarine vent shaft."
A last look at the Submarine. Mystery solved!
UPDATED PICS: AUGUST 2007
See also: The Onion Shed, Camberwell
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