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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Winchelsea Caves, Dover

These tunnels, in the former Winchelsea Quarry, were used during WW2 as air raid shelters. They were constructed in the form of four parallel corridors with two intersecting passages. There were four original entrances in the quarry and two more which spur off from a junction at the opposite end of the tunnel. The quarry entrances are now used as workshops by the company which owns the tunnels and the other two entrances have been sealed. One was located behind the Westmount building and the other was located in another chalk pit in Tower Hamlets, where the houses of 'The Abbots' road are now located. According to ARP records of the time, the shelter was designed to accommodate just over 1,000 people. Some wartime photos still remain of people sheltering in these tunnels as well as many dated etchings on the chalk walls.

It was with the kind permission of the owners, that I was allowed to visit and photograph this site.
Plan of the tunnels

Bored tunnel

Looking towards one of the entrances

Bored chalk section

Inside the workshop area

Unlined tunnel connecting the main corridors


Bored chalk tunnel

Junction of one of the interconnecting tunnels

Smooth, concrete lined tunnel

These would have led to the other two entrances but have been bricked up

Looking through a hole in one of the bricked up sections

Looking into lined section

Passage leading to one of the exits

One of the workshop areas


Unknown said...

I used to use these tunnels to get two wichelsea co op from aster school the entrance was in our allotments as i remember there was two artesian wells in the tunnel i used.I used to pick up my mums shopping and take it to Maxton where I lived. That was 1954

Unknown said...

Does anybody have the contact details for the owners, so I can arrange access, if possible, for an overnight paranormal investigation (Ghost hunt)for my group?

eferon said...

Hi, please contact me for the information you require

Blockbuster. said...

There’s supposed to be one in the hospital wing over the old block. Story was it jumped on to boy’s bed. He apparently when into shock so they released him. That was the story I heard.
I was there all of 74. Usually down the block. Ended up being called ‘Blockbuster’ from Sweet’s hit of that year, on account I made a deal with the governor about getting released before Christmas, after already losing 4 months! It caused a bit of a stir between some of the screws but, in all fairness, they stayed away from me as they didn’t want to be the one to nick me. Not all bad. My name’s Noble and I wore glasses, in case anyone remembers me. Hope everyone’s as well as can be, both boys and screws, except Mr Beer, who was a jumped up little shit, who’s first name was Arther. I mean f’kin ‘ell. What kind of a name is that?

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During World War II, these tunnels in the former Winchelsea Quarry used as air raid shelters. They were built as four parallel passageways that crossed each other twice. Two additional entries branched off from a junction at the opposite end of the tunnel, adding to the quarry's original four entrances. The business that owns the tunnels now uses the quarry entrances as workshops, while the other two entrances have been blocked. One was in a chalk pit in Tower Hamlets behind the Westmount building, and the other was where the homes on "The Abbots' road" are now. The shelter was intended to house just over 1,000 people, according to ARP records from the time. You can watch Solar Smash gameplay here to play it better.

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