Is the following feasible?
In WWII, a man owning a typical terraced house in Chelsea
(say 3 floors + basement + attic) decides to build a bomb
shelter underneath that basement. He finds the activity
very emotionally satisfying, so he just carries on extending
The first architectural problem that arises is that the
foundation walls only go down so far. What he needs
to do is lower them piecemeal fashion. That is, he
digs a trench (say, 1 yard wide) against the wall until
he reaches the bottom. Now he adds bricks underneath.
Is there a problem here?
Towards the end of the war, the adjacent house comes
on the market. Delighted, the man snaps it up, and
Eventually he succeeds in building downwards to a
depth equivalent to one and a half storeys.
He also puts in two doorways through the bearing
walls between the two properties, using thick
A few decades later he dies, leaving the properties
(plus a sizable sum of money) to his only son. The
son knew about the excavations but he had always
imagined that planning permission had been obtained
previously. When he has the houses surveyed, he finds
out that the excavations were all illegal - and, incidentally,
that the neighbours didn't know anything about them!
(He'd been away at school, then abroad in Africa, etc.,
Given the son's innocence, the borough council imposes
only a moderate fine, but they do order him to make
the houses safe.
The son decides he would like to turn them into an hotel
with a cabaret plus restaurant in the basement. He goes
to a firm of architects, to ask if arches could be put into
the walls, to create a large dome-shaped auditorium in
the 1.5-storey space underneath the basement. (More
precisely, an auditorium with straight walls but a domed
Expensive, of course. And maybe you don't like this
plotline, anyway. But is it possible?
Thanks in advance to anyone who replies.