This London WWII shelter is being brought back to life by Transport for London

Lynsey Barber
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Plans for the Rotunda on Clapham Common (Source: TfL)

A long-abandoned Tube station bomb shelter used by Londoners during the Second World War will be brought back to life and turned into a new cafe and events space.

The grade II listed building connected to Clapham South Tube station and overlooking Clapham Common hides eight deep-level air-raid shelters and connecting tunnels beneath that would have held 8,000 Londoners in the Blitz.

The renovation of the shelter is part of plans by Transport for London to increase its revenue from unused assets. It will lease the cafe space to a private company, while the Transport Museum will offer tours of the shelter and put on an exhibition about the history of the shelter.

How the Rotunda looks now, before being redeveloped (Source: TfL)

The shelter was later used to home migrants from Jamaica during the post-war Windrush and visitors to the Festival of Britain in 1951.

“Clapham South’s deep-level shelters have played an important role in shaping the London that we know today. The planning approval that we have received from Lambeth Council means that this structure can once again be brought back to life," said TfL commercial development director Graeme Craig.

Read more: Here's every single property owned by TfL

"Linking the new restaurant or cafe above ground with the historic shelters below ground showcases how we are opening up our assets to Londoners and delivering value for fare payers.”

Transport for London has previously unveiled plans to turn property developer with vacant land that it owns, with planning applications already filed to build homes at sites in Nine Elms, Northwood and Parsons Green.

It's aiming to save £2.8bn by 2020 as the government cuts its subsidies. TfL believes such plans will help it become completely self-sufficient within five years and the only major transport network in Europe to cover its own running costs.

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