Date: December 9, 1939
Source: Eastern Daily Press
This plan of tunnels underneath Earlham Rd and St John’s Catholic cathedral is said to date back to 1824. At that time workmen digging a well suddenly found ‘a cavern’ 35 feet below the surface. Exploration revealed a series of tunnels, which were opened to the public and given jovial names such as Discovery St and Royal Arch (the latter adopted in early 2000s by the developers of a sheltered housing complex). On this plan the original sketch of streets was overlaid with dotted lines showing a conjectural relationship between tunnels and modern streets.
No one can be sure of the original date or purpose of the tunnels. ‘John Bond 1571’ was found carved into the wall and gives us a clue. Mining for flints has been one suggestion, digging out chalk another. We have always assumed that the quarry in which the Plantation garden was created was formed by excavating for flints and chalk.