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Report - Deepdene ww2 bunker and bonus outbuilding jan2015

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Rs220bhp, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Rs220bhp

    Rs220bhp 28DL Full Member
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    Had brief visit here Saturday to check access. Returned with camera and mask for a good explore. Pictures aren't the best as I'm more into the explore although would like to get better seeing the quality of some pictures on here. Found another little out building whilst looking round Saturday. Not seen pictures of it before.

    Borrowed history.
    "When the Southern Railway took over Deepdene House (also known as the Deepdene Hotel) for its wartime Headquarters it discovered that there were natural caves in the grounds. These caves had been acknowledged 300 years before in the diaries of John Evelyn. Because of the natural protection afforded by the location of the caves they were eminently suitable for the development of a bunker to house both the sites switchboard and the Traffic Control. The lawn between the caves and the house was used as a site for the 99foot mast supporting aerials of the emergency radio. The bunker was constructed within the caves which were enlarged to house the 30 staff and once complete their emergency headquarters with office staff was moved there from Waterloo.

    The network of tunnels included a Control Room, meeting room, 3-position switchboard, battery room, main distribution frame (MDF)/maintainers room, a bedroom for the night officer and an air plant and toilet facilities. A 60-foot vertical shaft at the rear of the complex provided an air inlet and emergency exit. A 4 foot thick concrete slab covered the complex but no protection was provided against a ‘near miss’

    The Southern Railway General Manager Eustace Missenden lived nearby and had a switchboard extension in his house. During the air raids he spent many nights there with his wife and it is reputed that the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was a visitor.

    The bunker consisted of a series of tunnels partly natural driven into the steep hillside to the rear of the former hotel. There were three entrances plus a fourth emergency exit accessed from the hillside 50 feet above via a spiral staircase.

    Even after the war the exchange remained in use and one visitor in the 1960's remembers three operators and he noticed one of the side tunnels still contained bunk beds.

    British Railways left Deepdene in the mid 1960's and the house was demolished in 1969 with a modern office block being built on the site; this is now the Headquarters of Kuoni Travel. For many years the tunnels lay forgotten in the bushes to the rear of the office block but in 1997 local children started a small fire just inside one of the entrance tunnels and when the fire brigade came to extinguish the it they found the whole network was heavily contaminated with asbestos, so much so that they had to dispose of all their clothes after the incident.

    As a result of this information, Kuoni commissioned a survey of the tunnels by Redhill Analysts who confirmed that most of the complex and two of the small surface buildings were heavily contaminated with both white asbestos (Chrysotile) and blue asbestos (Crocidolite). Shortly afterwards all four entrances, and the contaminated surface buildings were sealed.

    In June 1999 Subterranea Britannica approached Kuoni for permission to break into the tunnels to carry out a photographic survey and although English Heritage had previously been turned down permission was granted on the understanding that the entrance was repaired the same day and those people entering the tunnels signed a relevant disclaimer.

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    This is the other out building. The circular part is about 5m deep and tapers from top to bottom with a two foot hole at the top.

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    Thanks for looking.
     
    #1 Rs220bhp, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015

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  2. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Good to see again, you should go and look at Coulsdon too, not sure what state of play is, but doesn't harm to have a look, it's far more stripped than here but worthy of a visit if you're into that sort if thing
     
  3. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Yea good to see. I've removed one pic as it looked a bit like the access point.
     
  4. Rs220bhp

    Rs220bhp 28DL Full Member
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    I intend to pay a visit there soon. I've been doing my homework about location etc so in the near future I'll get over there.:thumb
     
  5. Rs220bhp

    Rs220bhp 28DL Full Member
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    If you mean the stone circular columb with the hole in, it's not the access point.
     
  6. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
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    Ok cool, bung it back in then if ya like :smile
     
  7. Paulct

    Paulct 28DL Full Member
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    The Circular Building looks a bit like an Ice House, I'm sure that Deepdene House would have had one. Most of the big houses in this area had them.

    Paul
     
  8. Dave W

    Dave W Industrial Pornographer
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    Yes definitely an Ice House. Looks like some interesting period tat dumped down that one!
     
  9. soylent green

    soylent green 28DL Regular User
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    Good report and always good to see this place:thumb
     
  10. REEF

    REEF Getthegirlkillthebaddies
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    yep, that's the ice house.

    Good work
     
  11. Rs220bhp

    Rs220bhp 28DL Full Member
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    Good to know what it is. There is minimal litter around so anything there is original I'd guess.
     
  12. canute

    canute 货车司机和国王
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    Good report mate :thumb

    I don't know how I missed the ice house when I went given the hours I spent going round in circles in the dark
     
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