Join us now to get access to all our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, and so, so much more. It's also quick and totally free, so what are you waiting for?

Post a thread

Post a thread in one of the forums

Browse the forums

Browse threads and contribute to reports

Contact Staff

Contact the team

Shorts Brothers Tunnels. Rochester, Kent, July 2013


O.S Friend AAA
Sep 11, 2010
Reaction score
This has been a long time coming, I've wanted to explore this place since I have known of its existence, I have held off on doing a report as every seemed to be doing it all around the same time so wanted to avoid the impression that I was jumping on the band wagon :) , So here goes, First with a little history borrowed from a highly respected site, My pics are of the entire site which does of course include the Shadow factory.

On 23rd September 1941 Shorts Brothers contacted the Ministry of Aircraft Production regarding their seaplane works at Rochester seeking authority to build a new underground works in tunnels excavated under chalk cliffs behind their existing MAP extension factory on the south bank of the River Medway. Space was urgently required for 75 new machine tools as their works were full to capacity. The tunnels were intended to create 12,000 square feet of workshop space at a cost of £20,000 which, it was acknowledged was somewhat higher than a new surface building but stress was lid upon the vulnerability of the Medway estuary.

The project was given the go ahead and the tunnels were excavated consisting of two parallel tunnels, each one hundred metres in length, these were linked by four 75 metre long adits to the cliff face at the rear of the factory. The tunnels were for the most part cut from chalk and brick lined (one of the adits was unlined). There were also two 45 degree ventilation shafts extending to the surface.

At the eastern end of the tunnels the company built an extensive network of air raid shelter tunnels again consisting of two parallel drives running parallel with the cliff face, each was three hundred yards in length connected by 14 crosscuts. These were connected to the Shorts Factory tunnels by a single tunnel 400 metres in length and by 9 adits of varying lengths out to the cliff face. There were three vertical ventilation shafts to the surface which were also fitted with ladders for emergency escape.

Post war, the southern section of the tunnels was used for storage and workshops by Blaw Knox Ltd, contractors plant manufacturers, (a subsidiary of the Babcock International) who had taken over the former Shorts Site. They remained at the site at least until the mid 1990's. During the late 1990's the site was cleared and is now occupied by a modern housing estate. Most of the adits were backfilled and are no longer visible at the surface.

And for a few more pics, Ill apologize for the sheer quantity but this place is truly epic and its expansive size can only be truly appreciated by seeing it for real !

And for a few of me being self indulgent :lol:

My Thanks to the Guys that made it possible (You know who you are ;) ), and to the rest of you for browsing through my Pic heavy Report


Last edited by a moderator:


O.S Friend AAA
Jan 7, 2011
Reaction score
That's a great report fella, I'd heard of it but never knew the history

Excellent write up and beautifully lit shots mate