If you’re a homeowner, you’ll know that it takes time before things really fall into place. There is always a wall to be painted, a squeaky door to be fixed, or a backyard that needs to be weeded. Yet, there’s a high chance that you only really take note of what’s going on above ground. Because we can’t see what’s going on below deck, we don’t usually worry about the foundations, or even what our house is built on. However, one man couldn’t ignore this, because his collapsed driveway revealed a haunting secret.
Uncovering a secret
As you walk around your home, you might notice a few improvements that need to be made. The door might need oiling, the wall might need painting, or the driveway might need repaving.
Most of the time, these improvements can be over the course of a few months – but one man realized that he would need to be quick to repair his collapsed driveway. Yet, before he decided to pave over the giant hole that had appeared, he had a quick look at what was under the surface. What he saw changed his whole perspective on life.
A working man
This amazing story takes us back to 2016 and involves Simon Marks. Hailing from Luton, England, this 37-year-old was just an ordinary working man.
The computer support worker would leave his house in the early morning, get on with his 9-5, and return to his home in the evening. These daily commutes rarely had much of an effect on the man. It was just something he had to do every single day. But one particular commute sticks in his mind more than most, because this is the day that he uncovered a historical mystery.
A Saturday morning
Thankfully, this discovery didn’t occur just as he was about to go to work. Instead, it took place on a Saturday afternoon, when he was making his way out of his driveway to meet his friends.
As he attempted to reverse his Vauxhall Zafira onto the street, he suddenly felt the car shudder. Although he tried to keep his car moving, he had the feeling that his wheel had somehow got stuck. No matter how hard he tried, his car just wouldn’t budge. Had something happened to his car? Had it broken down?
The giant hole
As Simon got out of his car to inspect the situation, he soon realized that it had nothing to do with his car at all. The reason he couldn’t move his car was because his wheel had got stuck in a giant hole that had opened up on his driveway.
Simon had never seen anything like it, and he had no idea what to do. He was scared that the hole would get bigger and ultimately swallow his house, so he quickly jumped out of his car, took a photograph of the hole, and sent it to his father.
Checking it out
Simon hoped that his father would come to his rescue, and while he waited for his dad to arrive, he decided to have a little nose. He was conscious to not pry around too much, just in case the hole collapsed even further.
However, he wanted to know why the hole had opened up in the first place, so he grabbed some of the loose paving stones and moved them out of the way. As he got a better look at what was below the surface, he began to wonder whether it was just a hole after all.
Once he had moved some of the larger paving stones out of the way, he realized that the hole was not just a giant mass of emptiness. In fact, there was something in the hole. As he peered down further, he noticed that there was a ladder.
He was perplexed. Why would there be a ladder underneath his house? What would it be used for? Simon didn’t want to venture into the unknown without his father present, but he did try to get a better look as to what was in the depths.
The selfie stick
Because the hole was so deep, Simon knew that he wouldn’t be able to see what was in there without a little help. As he racked his brains, he realized what he needed. He ran back into his house and came out with his selfie stick.
He placed his phone on the end and put it onto the camera mode. As he stuck the selfie stick down into the cavern below, he hoped that he would be able to get a clearer view as to what was hiding beneath the surface. Unfortunately, it was just too dark to see.
It’s a well-known fact that two hands are better than one, and Simon was happy to see his father when he arrived. He was finally able to explore what was really underneath his collapsed driveway, and he was both apprehensive and excited.
However, their plans were thwarted when they climbed down the ladder. Instead of being greeted by a wondrous discovery, they were greeted by a wall of mud. They weren’t going to let this get the better of them, though, and they set about clearing the mud out of the way.
Doing it by hand
Amazingly, Simon and his father did not enlist the help of diggers or machinery to complete their project. They simply used their bare hands and basic tools such as trowels and shovels. They collected the mud in buckets, before emptying them above ground in a pile.
As this pile grew bigger by the bucketful, the cavernous space underneath Simon’s driveway became bigger and bigger. Soon enough, they were able to guess what this underground lair was really used for. The truth would not only shock Simon and his father, but also the surrounding area.
The housing history
To understand this story fully, we need to know a little more about the history of Simon Marks’ house. His home had previously belonged to an elderly couple before Simon bought it off them for £400,000 ($518,000).
This elderly couple had actually built the house themselves and therefore would have known all about the cavern that lies below. After all, they would have had to have filled the underground space before they could build their house. They didn’t mention this to Simon when he bought the house.
An internet search
With most of the mud cleared from the inside of the underground space, the father-and-son duo were finally able to see what was really lying below Simon’s house. The large area was unlike anything Simon had ever seen, but his father thought that it seemed very familiar.
Gerald Marks wandered around the underground cavern numerous times, and eventually divulged his theory. However, before he made his conclusion, he wanted to do some research. A quick internet search confirmed his suspicions, and he had an idea as to when the space was used, and what it was used for.
Pouring over information
Gerald was amazed, and couldn’t believe what had appeared underneath his son’s house. He was intrigued, and he wanted to know whether this structure had been included in documents for the house, or even documents about the surrounding area.
He looked over ordnance surveys, detailed development plans, and even asked the local residents if they had similar structures. After all, his son couldn’t be the only one with an old WWII relic underneath his driveway, could he? The more he learned about that era and the structures involved; he was convinced.
An air raid shelter
During WWII, towns and cities across England were falling victim to enemy bombings. To try and save human life as much as possible, Sir John Anderson was given the task of keeping people safe during air raids. It was thanks to him that this simple air raid shelter was created.
Buried half underground, this shelter was normally placed in a backyard and disguised to avoid detection. During these devastating air raids, residents could make their way into the shelter and hopefully remain safe and sound. However, this wasn’t the only shelter that was being used.
As well as using these simple forms of air raid shelters, those who lived through the atrocities of WWII also made use of underground bunkers. These were often built with the purpose of keeping residents safe, or they made use of underground spaces that were already there.
Many people during this time would make their way into the subway stations around the city, in the hope that they would keep themselves safe from the drama above. Gerald believed that Simon’s underground space was one specifically designed for this reason.
A huge space
As Simon and his father cleared all of the mud out of the way, they were able to see for themselves just how big this underground space was. Yet, they were both extremely surprised. What they thought was going to be one room actually turned into three!
There was a small area where the ladder descended, but then they discovered a doorway that led to two much bigger rooms. Simon had no idea that this huge space was simply lying underneath his house, and he was truly lost for words.
Although the two men were concerned about their safety below the surface, they knew that they had to continue their exploration. It was during this excavation that they discovered definitive proof that Simon’s underground bunker had been used during WWII.
In one of the two larger rooms, they stumbled across this old newspaper. Finding this newspaper really hit home for the two men. Although they couldn’t even imagine what was going on above the heads of those who stayed in this air raid shelter, they were still trying to live a normal life.
Something to drink
However, this wasn’t the only thing that the men found hidden beneath the surface. As they had a rummage around the rooms, they also found this old bottle.
Because those who used the air raid shelter had no idea how long they were going to have to stay down there, they would often take numerous bottles of water and their rations into the bunker with them. Although the bottle didn’t look good enough to drink from when they found it, it was still an incredible discovery that once again certified their hypothesis.
Made by hand
Simon and his father were overwhelmed to be greeted by such a sight, and the discovery of the newspaper and the bottle made the reality of the situation hit home. However, what impressed them even more was the fact that the structure had stayed so strong after all of those years.
During WWII, they didn’t have expert builders to make use of while building these air raid shelters. Novices had to make them with their bare hands, and the bricks were piled on top of each other as quickly as they could. Yet, it had lasted all that time.
It took Simon and his father days to truly discover everything that this secret bunker had to offer, but even then they weren’t convinced that it was the end. As they made their way underground, they were also faced with another brick wall.
Although it was fairly similar to the other walls in the air raid shelter, there was something about this wall that seemed different. Simon was convinced that there was something behind the wall, as though it had been bricked up, but he didn’t want to risk harming the structure to have a look.
A deep bunker
As news of Simon’s bunker made its way across the local town, more and more people showed an interest in the incredible discovery. Even news stations made their way to his driveway to see the hole and the air raid shelter for themselves.
When they asked Simon how deep he thought the shelter really was, he confirmed that they had dug five feet into the ground. However, he had a hunch that they still had another five feet to discover. That would make the air raid shelter a whopping ten feet deep!
Preserving the history
Of course, it’s not ideal for Simon to have a giant hole in his driveway, but he also understands the importance of the history. Because of this, it’s believed that Simon has found a way to keep the air raid shelter as preserved as possible.
He knows that it’s one of the most amazing discoveries to appear in the local area, and he wants future generations to grow up knowing about the war and how it even affected their small town. It’s certainly not something you’d expect to turn up in your driveway on a regular basis.