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Report - 1880 Channel Tunnel Test Bore, Folkestone - Nov. 2010

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by DarkDog, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. DarkDog

    DarkDog Too old to give a f*ck...
    Regular User

    Jan 15, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Visited with a couple of friends that frequent 'other' forums :thumb. I'd missed an opportunity to visit here a while back, so when I got a call asking if I'd like to go in I jumped at the chance.
    There's no quick way of getting to Adit 20 - during the summer, and with the co-operation of the tides, it's a great walk from Dover but this was a rather wet Sunday afternoon in November, so the easier route from Folkestone was taken - a good chance to catch up on gossip, mutual friends and past explores.

    Historical Background
    The first serious attempt to build a channel tunnel came with an Act of Parliament in 1875 authorising the Channel Tunnel Company Ltd to start preliminary trials. In 1880, under the direction of Sir Edward Watkin, No.1 shaft was sunk at Abbotscliff, No.2 was later sunk at Shakespeare Cliff.
    The eventual aim of this seven foot diameter pilot tunnel was to be enlarged to standard gauge so it could be connected to the South Eastern Railway at Dover. Unfortunately, lack of financing and the perceived threat of invasion from France scuppered plans, despite assurances that any invading army could be sealed off and drowned in the tunnel. By 1889 the scheme had ground to a halt, and the Bore was lost to memory.
    In the early '70s, the Channel Tunnel idea was revived, and during initial bores, the original tunnel was rediscovered, but once again the scheme foundered, and the original section was backfilled.

    The Trip
    Entrance is through a more modern drainage adit, lined with heavily creosoted rail sleepers. Initially it's a bit of a stoop, but it soon opens up to about 6' high at the point where it intersects the Victorian Tunnel. The bore itself is around 7' high, but water erosion and time mean in some places it's more, and in others, less.




    The intersection point

    Despite rumours to the contrary, the miner's graffiti is still in place
    "This tunnel was begubnugn in 1880. William Sharp"

    From this point on water began to be an increasing inconvenience



    From here the water increased to 3' deep, 4' in places - I left the camera behind to wade up to the roof fall in the background (this and the previous picture by Ryda)

    The roof fall served as a dam, the water behind reached to within 1' of the roof, making further exploration impossible.

    Thanks for taking the time to look.

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