booklist 2013: UNDERGROUND ENGLAND, Stephen Smith

January 9th, 2013 | stuff2013

UNDERGROUND ENGLAND: Travels Beneath Our Cities and Country, by Stephen Smith.  The prose style is frankly a bit arch and somewhat fusty in places, for me, but it’s done with good humour and, as you can see, it’s stuffed with fun things like this.  The man is fascinated by what lies beneath, and rattles all over the country (seeming not to stray across the borders, which I find a little sad) in search of caves, tunnels, mines, basements, secret passageways and your general array of holes in the ground.  Including, I should note, the underground town built for the Government and the Royal Family in event of nuclear war, named at various times Subterfuge and Site 3.  A secret buried town called Subterfuge.  How can you not love that?

Not what you’d call a serious exploration of England’s hidden spaces, but an amusing whistlestop tour, thickly littered with interesting pieces of information.


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  1. You can find Warren on Twitter: @warrenellis