Hidden compartment

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A hidden door between the library and changing rooms at Mottisfont Abbey in England.

A hidden compartment or secret compartment is a compartment whose existence or access is not obvious at first glance, and can be used as a hiding place for objects or sometimes even for people.

A hidden compartment where people can stay is usually referred to as a hidden room or secret room, and can range from parts of small wardrobes or closets under staircases to entire basements or even large mountain complexes. Hidden rooms are often accessed via a hidden door, which for example can be camouflaged as a bookshelf or a trapdoor in the floor. Hidden rooms can for example be used as a refuge, media room, larder or wine cellar.

The term hidden compartment can also refer to smaller storage places for valuables and personal belonging in furniture (see Cabinetry#Compartments), in vehicles (see Trap (car)), or various other devices (see Concealment device).


In the 1500s and 1600s, hidden rooms were created in British castles to hide Catholic priests, and these were referred to as priest holes.

During the prohibition era, there was several examples of hidden rooms being used for storing alcohol or as entrances to secret bars.[citation needed]

In 1978, in connection with the police investigation of Hans Otto Meyer, a secret room was found where Meyer kept weapons for what he claimed was a secret emergency preparedness organization under the Norwegian Armed Forces' intelligence services associated with NATOs Stay Behind.[1][2][3]

In recent years, there have been examples of several companies specializing in making hidden rooms,[4][5] as well as private individuals who have made improvised solutions, either for fun or for security in case of burglary.

Fire safety[edit]

Hidden rooms can make it difficult for firefighters to find people in the event of a fire. Many hidden rooms also do not have windows, and often do not satisfy requirements for emergency exits for rooms intended for permanent stay in accordance with building codes. Secret rooms can therefore benefit from being connected to secret passage(s) as an alternative escape route from the building.

Popular culture[edit]

In the film series The Chronicles of Narnia (2005, 2008, and 2010), the main characters enter a fairytale world through a wardrobe.

See also[edit]