© Crown Copyright: image reproduced with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
A large stone quarry which was converted by the air ministry during WWII, the quarry housed the world's largest underground factory. Later it became Royal Navy stores and part of the factory was converted in the government's emergency relocation site in the event of nuclear attack. Spring Quarry joins the south edge Tunnel Quarry, it also joins the smaller abandoned Sands Quarry.
Posted by Higgypop Admin last updated Tue 19 Aug 2008 at 16:58
Corsham, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
Grid reference: ST846692
No access - this is an active Ministry of Defence site.
Visited by 7 explorers
Photos of Spring Quarry
Spring Quarry history
Located South-East of Bath, Spring Quarry forms part of the area beneath JSU Corsham (formerly known as RAF Rudloe).
The Ministry of Aircraft production first acquired Spring Quarry in 1940 from the Bath and Portland Stone Company who had been extracting building stone from the quarry for the last century.
In 1941 worked started in the old stone quarry converting it in to what was at the time the largest underground factory in the world.
The Beaverbrook underground aircraft factory within Spring Quarry housed the Bristol Aerospace Company and a BSA's gun barrel factory . The vast caverns had some 2,250,000ftsq of space, divided into many smaller chambers for different companies operating underground.
A year later conversion work continued underground but by this stage the threat from German bombing had decreased so parts of the quarry were never used, the main area being the Dowty section in the North-West of the quarry which was intended for Dowty Engineering, the conversion of the Dowty section was never completed.
The factory finally closed and the companies moved out in 1945 after the Second World War had finished leaving a bill of over £20,000,000 after having very little use.
Spring Quarry was then passed over to the Ministry of Supplies who used most of the site for Admiralty stores until the early 90s.
Spring Quarry joins to other quarries, the MOD's Tunnel Quarry and an old stone quarry called Sands Quarry which was used as an emergency exit during the factories opporational days.
In the build up to Cold War the British government began a programme to strengthen and secure their facilities within Spring Quarry to try to ensure the safety of the government. The northern area of Spring Quarry was chosen as the wartime seat of power in case of nuclear war, this area became known as the Hawthorn Central Government War Headquarters. Hawthorn was later known by such names as 'Burlington' and more recently 'Site 3', for more details on this area of Spring Quarry please click here.
The future of Spring Quarry is at the moment uncertain, it is still secured and owned by MOD, most of the underground area is now abandoned. One area in the western side of the quarry is still in use today, it now forms part of Corsham Media Park's underground studio complex.
Documents & scans
- Secret Underground Cities - Nick McCamley - pages 44, 73, 117, 146, 151, 155, 204, 207, 210, 212...
- Secret Cold War Nuclear Bunkers - Nick McCamley - pages 18, 171-173, 247, 255-258
- Saving Britains Art Treasures - Nick McCamley - pages 48, 71, 143
- Secret Underground Bristol - Sally Watson - pages 60, 62-65
- Sands is a fairly small quarry connecting to the Southern end of Spring Quarry, it is only about 4.6 square miles. Sands is used as an emergency exit. Refelctive metal check points guide the way from the Spring Quarry emergency exit to surface slope shaft of Sands Quarry lit only be a torch light.
- The former emergency relocations site for the government in the event of nuclear attack, the site has been abandoned since the 1980s since which time it has been kept as a decoy site until it's declassification at the end of 2004. Burlington has had many code names since it's conception in the early 50s, these include Stockwell, Subterfuge, Turnstile and more recently Site 3.
- Now known by the name MOD Corsham and formerly JSU Corsham (Joint Service Unit) and RAF Rudloe Manor. A large military site which sits directly above the MOD's underground tunnel complex. During the Second World War the underground site made up part of a massive ammunitions depot and the world's largest underground factory. Later these tunnels became a government's emergency relocation site and various communication bunkers were also set up here.
Bezman Hi there,
I used work at Spring till 1994 when i was made redundent which was crap cos it was a great place to work. I was wondering if anyone has been down there since it closed and if so whats it like. I know the place was full of asbestos and it was floating about in the air as myself and others used to run into the walls which were covered in sheets of the stuff but back then you didn't... [Read more]
I used work at Spring till 1994 when i was made redundent which was crap cos it was a great place to work. I was wondering if anyone has been down there since it closed and if so whats it like. I know the place was full of asbestos and it was floating about in the air as myself and others used to run into the walls which were covered in sheets of the stuff but back then you didn't give a stuff if you were on a fork lift. It would be great to hear stories about the place.