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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

Another view

One of the two escape hatches

 One of the two entrances from the playground

Stairs between the low level shelter and the deeper tunnels
 
 
One of the two parallel tunnels

 The second tunnel

 Another view

One of the chalk carvings
 

1940s graffiti

 Tunnel leading to mystery room

 Entrance to room

Inside the mystery room

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I'm loving your blog as a kid I fequently visited the caves and would like to see them open to the public. who do I contact to get access to these caves. Neil

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