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Monday, July 08, 2013
Clarendon House School Air Raid Shelter, Ramsgate
The underground workings at Clarendon
House School show three distinctly different phases of construction.
Directly below the school playground is a 'cut and cover' low level air
raid shelter system, with two main stairways for access and two
emergency escape shafts. The shelter is surprisingly large for its
type, with long passages lined with concrete panels throughout. Steps
lead down from this shelter to an earlier set of tunnels, cut on a much
deeper level into the chalk. These long, parallel tunnels have
interconnecting spurs and then a steps leading into the school building.
There are numerous carvings and examples of graffiti dating from the
1940s as well as the remains of wooden seating, indicating the tunnels'
use during WW2. Another mystery tunnel, spurs off from these tunnels,
and leads to a brick lined room. This is very different in construction
to the rest of the tunnels, possibly of military or civil defence
origin, and a tunnel, which was probably the original access to this
section continues away from the school, but is blocked after a short
distance. This probably linked with tunnels known to exist under the
now demolished library adjacent to the school.
Many thanks to the school staff for allowing this visit.
Inside the 'cut and cover' shelter
One of the two escape hatches
One of the two entrances from the playground
Stairs between the low level shelter and the deeper tunnels