The air raid shelter under Soho Square has just gone on the market. We get the low-down on the hottest new venue in the capital

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Image: Going underground: could WWII bomb shelter be London’s next top restaurant venue?

Gwydion M. Williams / CC-BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr: GwydionMWilliams

The shelter runs under Soho Square with an exit via the mock-Tudor cottage in the middle

London’s former public toilets are awash with restaurants these days, indeed pop-up locations are getting more weird and wonderful by the second. Next up for a foodie makeover could be a hidden air raid shelter in Soho.

 

The bunker, which sits beneath the mock-Tudor cottage in the middle of Soho Square, has been dormant since the blitz but has just gone on the market for £175,000 with at least three restaurant groups citing an interest.

 

The 3,200 sq ft brick and concrete shell may look like a bomb shelter at the moment (well, it is), and according to the agency handling the letting it will need about £2m (yikes) to make it fit for public use.

 

According to The Evening Standard, the entrance to the shelter is on the western side of the square, with an emergency exit through the timber-framed gardener’s cottage. 

 

Leslie Hardcastle, who also spent the night in the shelter several times during the war and is now president of the Soho Society, told the paper: “It was lined with about 12 inches of brick and had concrete as a roof.

 

“It could take about 150 to 200 people initially although that became less when they put tiers of bunks in.


“The only facility was a toilet and it could get quite smelly with all the people down there.”


Any takers? Trendies, please form an orderly queue.