During the German occupation of Jersey in the Second World War, over 1,000m of tunnels were dug deep into the hillside by over 5,000 forced and slave workers, designed to withstand the Allied air raids and bombardment in the event of an invasion.
In 1943, the tunnels were converted into an emergency hospital, and they are now preserved as a museum, documenting the unique Jersey civilian experience of occupation.
Attracting over 90,000 visitors annually, with record-breaking attendance this year, the Jersey War Tunnels received the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award in 2021 and 2022.
Genesis AV was contracted to install new Wi-Fi and surveillance systems. LILIN received the original site plan during lockdown, and worked closely with Genesis to design the initial security specification and layout.
Once restrictions were lifted and Genesis AV was able to visit the site and gain a better understanding of the layout and the environment within the tunnels, the team was able to adjust the specifications to better suit the requirements.
The tunnels presented a unique opportunity and the site presented new difficulties in specifying and wiring, as Genesis had to create an installation that was respectful of the tunnel’s history and didn’t distract from the exhibits or environment.
Genesis AV took the time needed planning the cable routes and conduit runs to ensure that there was no interference with the existing, historic infrastructure.
During the initial design process, it was decided to colour code the cameras where possible to better match the environment they were mounted in, so as not to be a distraction.
Deep in the pits, black cameras were used to blend into the shadows and not be noticeable as the exhibit provides an immersive experience. This was a deciding factor in choosing to use cameras from LILIN’s Z series range, which come in both black and white chassis as standard and feature a remotely adjustable lens for easy installation. Turret cameras, with their smaller, low-maintenance shape were the final selection.
The system was intended to protect both the exhibits and artefacts and to maintain visitor safety. Cameras were first installed at key junctions to monitor the traffic flow, pinch points and congestion points.
From a health and safety perspective, the site presented a few potential areas of concern: the tunnel floors are uneven, and as the walls are often damp – the tunnels are up to 50m underground – they cannot always be used for a person to stabilise themselves if they are unsteady on their feet.
Another key concern was ensuring that nobody gets stuck in the tunnels overnight – with no phone signal underground and no public Wi-Fi, a lost visitor could be in for a long, cold night in the unlikely event they lose their way.
To combat this, Genesis AV installed telephone help points at strategic intervals, with the surveillance system providing a comprehensive overview of the site.
In total, 20 cameras have been installed so far, recording on two 32-channel NVRS and used with managed switches for easy remote maintenance. The system is monitored at several locations on site, including the front ticket desk and the management office. Senior management also has remote access via the LILIN Home mobile app.
To distribute the camera feeds across these different locations Genesis AV used LILIN’s free Client software, which is installed on PCs in each location. The client was particularly pleased with how easy it is to create customised views by dragging and dropping the camera feeds on their screens.
In total, the installation took approximately two months to complete. Most of this time was spent establishing the infrastructure, and Genesis AV is pleased to report that the LILIN equipment was easy to install and commission.
The team at the Jersey War Tunnels are “thrilled with the system” and are already talking about potential expansion opportunities for the system and using more automation.