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Report - Courts Wine Vaults/Barwicks caves

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by cosh, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. cosh

    cosh Guest

    A gentleman called Stephen Court, born in Acrise in 1761, one of his 3 sons, Rogers Stephen Court, and one of his 2 sons Stephen Court, are the three men we have to thank for these magnificent set of tunnels carved into the White Cliffs of Dover.

    Stephen leased 140 Snargate Street from Dover harbour board in 1814 for use as a wine merchants.

    In 1833, Rogers Stephens (And later in 1850, his son Stephen) purchased land behind the premises from two men named Thomas Papillion and Thomas Rutley. This land was used for terracing for vines, tea gardens, 2 summerhouses, and the unfamous and often unheard-of Courts Folly, which was constructed as a tourist attraction, mimicking Dover Castles silhoutte against the sky. More importantly, it was in these two plots of land these wine vaults were dug.

    During the First World War the vaults were converted to air raid shelters. After the War, the premises were in use by the Channel Fuel Co., coal merchants but were again empty by 1930.

    The premises was either demolished through war damage in 1939-45 or was deliberately removed in 1939 when the caves were again converted into an air raid shelter. The shop and yard in front of the caves were certainly cleared by the end of the war when the site (and the vaults) were taken over as a builders yard by R. J. Barwicks, which is where the tunnels got their other name; "Barwick Caves".

    There are 3 parallel tunnels leading down to the storage areas, which have a rough chalk ceiling, concrete floor, and brick alcoves. A tunnel bearing east leads down to Bushells Caves.

    These are looking down various passages.



    Some signs of world war 2 occupation:



    && now what really made these stand out for me, the endless amazing graffiti.
    Possibly a game played during times of shelter, naming actors and actresses
    Here somebody has drawn an actress, Betty Grable, famous for her iconic bathing suit photo, which was a favourite pin up poster during World War 2
    Never seen anything like these before:
    Points of the compass

    Another storage area coming off the western entrance (1st of the 3) tunnel:[​IMG]

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