[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 08:17 GMT
'Hellfire' tunnels open to public
Gilmerton Cove
The tunnels date to the early 1700s
Underground tunnels used as an 18th-century illegal drinking den are being opened to visitors for the first time in three centuries.

Gilmerton Cove, in Edinburgh, was chiselled into existence by blacksmith George Paterson over five years in the early 1700s, according to legend.

Paterson is said to have lived in the subterranean apartment, which features three bedrooms, a sitting room and a forge, for 11 years until his death in 1735.

The hideaway, which is located three metres beneath what is now a betting shop, then became a tourist attraction, drinking den and smugglers' lair before being abandoned later in the century.

It has also been linked to the legendary Hellfire Club, which met in similar caves near High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire.

Edinburgh City Council are now to reopen the cove as a destination for sightseers, complete with a state-of-the-art heritage centre.

Gilmerton Cove
The attraction will include a visitor centre
The network of caves and tunnels includes carved and domed ceilings, benches and tables cut into the rock and graffiti etched into the surfaces.

Speaking ahead of the opening, the chairman of VisitScotland, Peter Lederer, said: "It is a privilege to open this unique national monument which local people have worked hard to present to the public in an educational way.

"I have no doubt that many will gain in knowledge and an appreciation of Gilmerton's rich history as a result."

Tourist plan for 'haunted' lane
17 Oct 02 |  Scotland
Castle hit by fall in visitors
09 Jan 02 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific