Wasnt going to do a report as ive bunged the odd one up here and there but the wifes blocked my view of the tv with a table she is painting so here goes..
We first visited this place back in 2011 with some comedy gold access to boot!
Access was as funny if not funnier this time round ,Big shout to Woody on this one,thanks matey!
Brief history stolen from underground Kent
The company W T Henley has always been highly regarded for the manufacture of cable and electrical components and was clearly the company of choice when a system had to be devised as a countermeasure to the growing threat of German magnetic mines during the Second World War. As a result, a new site was constructed in 1939 in Gravesend for W T Henley and a complex of tunnels built underneath to provide air raid shelter for the company’s employees
With at least six entrances, the air raid shelter was very clearly signed internally to ensure that there was no confusion when looking for your allocated space. Cut into chalk and lined with prefabricated concrete, the shelter tunnels were well laid out, including first aid areas and numerous latrines – in the form of Elson buckets.
The tunnels themselves don’t seem to have much in the way of documented history unlike the cable works..
I probably have more shots of this but these happen to be on my flickr and i cba with photobucket these days so this is what you get
Explored with non member Trav who without i may still be down there now..
After memories of passing this place and being dropped off in the carpark back in the college days, seeing the pub boarded up meant it’s been on the list to explore for quite some time.
At the first opportunity, teaming up with Tiny Urban Exploration, we were there!
The pub is now unfortunately stripped of most interesting features and nearly everything you can imagine smashed to pieces by the local youths. Kindly resulting in another injury for UrbexDevil for the second time in a row… cheers kids! Make shift wrapping up the cut to stop blood dripping everywhere we pressed on.
Rather amusingly as we exited the building and proceeded to take external photos, the local police spotted us. After a rather amusing conversation on how they thought they were going mad seeing flashes and a long minor issue of a stop and search, we were told that kids were arrested only a few hours before us for smashing the place to pieces.
Onto the history side now!
The John Gilpin pub has been trading since 1878, owned by McMullens closed in 2014 after more than 125 years of trading. Despite a large investment years before, the land has been sold to developers and its demolition is imminent.
The pub was named after a poem made famous by William Cowper in 1782.
I'm new to Oblivion State, but I've been doing Urban Exploring for about 18 months now.
Here is my latest explore from late last night.
Coulsdon Deep Shelter
This was the site of my first proper Urban Explore about 18 months ago. I remember scrabbling through the woods one October night with some friends (that I think were quite convinced I was trying to get them killed) trailing behind me to try and find the way in. Eventually of course we made it in and it was all worth it. I of course had no idea what I was really doing, I don't think any of use really do when we start this rather weird hobby.
Neither the less, 18 months later and I'm still hooked (and somewhat poorer with all the camera equipment I've bought).
I heard that this the shelter had been sealed up with a massive pile of dirt back in the middle of last year. However a few months later there was a report up in October saying it was back open again. So I made a mental note to go re-visit when I got a chance.
The History has been said many time about this locations, so I won't go into great detail. You can get a very detailed write up anyway if you look this shelter on Google, so I'm not going to try and compete with that.
It was constructed in 1941 It was bough by Cox, Hargreaves and Thomson Ltd, a manufacturing company that made Optical Equipment. They operated from the 1950s to the 1960s. However the moisture and cold made the tunnel unusable for manufacturing high precision equipment. It was bought by a motor vehicle repair company but they moved out for the same reasons sometime later. It was sealed up and left for years before being opened up at sometime later.
I tried to find 'the usual' way in, but as reported a massive (Its truly massive, it would take a digger hours to clear it all away) mound of dirt and bricks was piled on top of it.
Anyway, we dug about with sticks a bit to try and work out how someone got in previously, but gave up after a short while. We started to head back in defeat before accidentally stumbling across a totally new way in.
Compared to 18 months ago, not much has really changed in the shelter.
The only new thing is the bright pink speakers and DJ mixer that have been left in there from rave some people must have had in there. There was actually cable going into the entrance from outside, so I am assuming they ran a small generator outside and ran the power inside for the speakers. Pretty clever IMO.
Full album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/grahamr123/albums/72157661916861733
By The Elusive
Lovely trip to see this place; I think its been a while since it was photographed.
Sometimes you often find yourselves questioning why we do the things we do… today was no exception.
Migraines, hidden holes, rubble every where and bad air! not to mention the occasional squeeze
Still had to be done and feel very fortunate to have seen this place,
Despite the state of me and the location!
Bit O history..
There was a prevailing mood in the Government against deep shelters being built for the protection of large numbers of civilians. Their effectiveness from high explosive bombs was questioned, based on reports of their performance in the Spanish Civil War, and there were also concerns about costs. The Government’s preference for almost two decades had been for smaller, dispersed shelters, and so the large deep shelters that went ahead all had very specific causes, such as their being in areas with previously excavated mines and tunnels, or eminently suitable geological conditions, or even very determined local authorities who were willing to risk losing government grants to build the shelters they wanted.
However when the Blitz started in the autumn of 1940 policy changed and permission was granted for the two large civilian shelters Grant funding was generous given the need to protect the skilled workers.
The shelter was in the side of the hill allowing access at grade into two main entrances, while at the uphill end a 25m ventilation shaft was sunk, doubling up as an emergency escape via a series of steep metal ladders. The tunnels in between these ends were cut out in a familiar gridiron layout, with four long perpendicular tunnels fed at both ends from the two main entrances, and eleven cross tunnels. Toilets, a canteen, and a first aid post were provided either in the cross tunnels or at tunnel intersection nodes. Within this 1596 bunks and 793 seats were provided for those lucky enough to have the requisite shelter permit.
Construction began in December 1941 and was largely completed within a year, having suffered from escalating costs, geological problems, an unskilled labour force, and also paradoxically trespassers and vandalism. The original intention was that the tunnels would be 2.1m wide and 2.0m high with an arched roof, but the surviving tunnels are considerably larger than this. Records indicate that the considerable height came about following roof trimming required in the latter stages of the project due to the softness of the rock and problems with instability after exposure to the air.
The shelter, like many of the deep shelters reluctantly approved by the Government, came too late to provide mass protection during the periods of heaviest bombing. After the war it was used for customs and excise storage, fire brigade training, and was even considered for Cold War use but rejected due to extensive dry rot. The Local Borough Council visited in the 1950’s to see if they could find a use for it, but disapprovingly recorded it to be “damp, dark and featureless” and it has been sealed in recent times. Local groups in the last decade have looked at ways of reopening it as a tourist attraction, and hopefully one day will be successful.
Thanks for looking