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Nuclear bunker or fine wine store?

Wartime Drakelow Tunnels wine store air cleanliness and purity

It’s not everyday that our expertise in ventilation and air quality assessment is called upon to conduct a walk-through air quality survey inside a set of tunnels.

Recently two Airmec Essential Services’ surveyors undertook an indoor air quality assessment to evaluate if the infamous Drakelow Tunnels in Kidderminster had the ideal conditions required for to store wine underground.

The tunnels have a rich history including being amongst the top ten most haunted places in Britain. Originally built during the Second World War, the 3.5 mile long tunnels were created to house a shadow factory for Rover. Production of parts for tank engines continued until the late 1950’s when the tunnels were passed over to government and became a top-secret facility and fitted out as a nuclear bunker.

Now the tunnels are in the process of being fitted by Eco UK Group where their client, LCB, will store fine wines, so it was essential to test for airborne microbial activity and assess the humidity. Whilst tunnels provide a cool environment, if the humidity is too low this affects the corks, whilst high humidity can lead to mould growth.

Carrying out the assessment were Airmec’s senior surveyor, Jonathan Cooke AMIHEEM and Paul Field. “It was an amazing experience,” recalls Jonathan. “Most of the areas we visited to test have undergone refurbishment as part of the refit, however some areas will be made into a museum so remain untouched for many years. It was fascinating to see bunk beds and phones left over from the tunnels time as a nuclear bunker after the Second World War.”

“It was a fascinating experience and thankfully the only spooky thing we noticed during our visit was fungal growths.”

9 March 2022

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