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Report - Shorts Brothers Seaplane Factory, Rochester, Jan 2010

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by rigsby, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. rigsby

    rigsby Chatbox Mong
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    In 1941 Shorts Brothers contacted the Ministry of Aircraft Production
    seeking authority to build a new underground works in tunnels excavated under chalk cliffs behind their existing MAP extension factory in Rochester.
    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.

    After that Blaw-Knox who manufacturer paving equipment used the tunnels untell the 1990's for storage, and left many bits of metal and materials behind. The tunnels have been unused since.

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    At one end of the factory it a large air raid shelter it is very long and it felt like i was walking for hours to get to the end.

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  2. Walrus75

    Walrus75 28DL Full Member
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    There's a great thread on the Kent History website about the Shorts Tunnels. It's a bit long, has a lot of pictures plus many, many posts regarding the actual history of the tunnels, Shorts Sea Plane Factory and Blaw Know itself. An interesting read of you have the time:-
    http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=3646.0

    :)
     
  3. rigsby

    rigsby Chatbox Mong
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    Thanks guys.

    @ DUK there was a big Tunnel out but it has now been blocked off.
     
  4. Walrus75

    Walrus75 28DL Full Member
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    Aircraft components were manufacted or stored within the tunnels, the aircraft themselves would have been assembled in the actual main factory complex which was built between the escarpment and the river.
    This is a good illustration of the layout of the factory and the tunnels at the time but takes a bit of studying to get your head around it:
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    (image is on here: http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=3646.15)
    At the bottom of the picture is the river Medway. The factory bounds are within the black heavy line. You can just make out the tunnels drawn in lightly behind the factory. The actual "factory tunnels" are behind the building marked 13 on the far right. The "air raid tunnels" are in the area maked 86 on the map to the left of the factory tunnels, connected by the 400 yard single tunnel..

    Here's a map of the tunnels which might put them into perspective on the picture above ("Factory Tunnels" far right, "Air Raid Tunnels" far left):
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    (map is from the SubBrit report here - http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/sites/r/rochester/)
     
    #4 Walrus75, Jan 31, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
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