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Unique history of Exeter’s Underground Passages featured on national TV

Published: 17 October 2023

Unique history of Exeter’s Underground Passages featured on national TV Bargain Hunt presenter Christina Trevanion

The fascinating history of Exeter’s Underground Passages is featured in a latest episode of the BBC’s popular Bargain Hunt programme.

Presenter Christina Trevanion takes a trip 6m below the pavements of Exeter to visit the unique attraction run by the City Council.

The presenter and film crew visited Exeter to film the episode back in the summer, whilst contestants hunted out a bargain at nearby Westpoint Arena.

Filming also took place outside Exeter Cathedral and down at Exeter Quay.

Yet it was the 13th Century built Underground Passages and their quirky history that stole the show.

Viewers of the show – which is available to see on BBC iPlayer - will be able to watch historian and Professor Mark Stoyle from the University of Southampton, as he explains the origins of the Passages whilst being interviewed by the BBC presenter beneath the Exeter city streets.

Prof Stoyle explains how the Passages were built to bring fresh drinking water to the city, and to build them a section of the Roman wall had to be knocked down before being reconstructed.

Underground aqueducts were then constructed to bring the water into the heart of the city.

The Passages, which are now a popular tourist attraction that visitors can enjoy as part of guided tours, stretch for 425m below the city streets. They were even used as air raid shelters during the Second World War.

Presenter Christina is even seen coming out of a manhole that connects the Passages at the top of Longbrook Street, outside what was once the old King Billy pub.

Cllr Laura Wright, Deputy Leader and Lead Councillor for Culture and City Centre Strategy, said: “We are always extremely proud to have such a unique historic construction as this in (or under!) Exeter and it’s great that the hugely popular TV programme Bargain Hunt, has featured the Underground Passages in their show. This brings one of our many wonderfully fascinating historic attractions into the living rooms of so many people up and down the country who might not have previously known they existed.” 

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