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The Wormhole Caves, New Brighton

The Wormhole Caves, lie under Rock Villa on Wellington Road. Until recently they were opened to the public once a year for charity. It could then be entered by a manhole and a ladder from the garden. The caves include a narrow north-south tunnel and a main cavern that contains a well, with a bricked-up tunnel on the east wall.

 

The air is fresh, suggesting that there is an outlet. It is said that the tunnel joins others in a cavern beneath the Palace Amusement Arcade. A warren of tunnels does exist under the Palace to this day, and predates the existing building, which was built in the 1920s after the Old Palace, dating from 1880, was demolished.

 

The builders of the original building discovered a pit that had been used by smugglers and wreckers to conceal their contraband. Passages from the cavern beneath the Palace are said to extend as far as St Hilary’s, if not further. No tunnels are currently accessible from St Hilary’s, but one was discovered in the thirties, beneath what is now the rectory. It is said to have led to the church, and then on to Mother Redcap’s.

 

Source: Gavin Chappell & Tony Franks-Buckley