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Report - DOE Tunnels, Dover - June 2010

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by canute, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. canute

    canute 货车司机和国王
    Regular User

    Dec 15, 2008
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    Dover is honeycombed with tunnels, mainly constructed during the Napoleonic wars and the Second World war (although many of these may have been reworkings of earlier storage tunnels). These tunnels in common with others along the seafront are thought likely to be ones built by French prisoners in the early 19th century. The name’s something I’ve never seen an explanation for – DOE used to be a grade of road surfacing aggregate but that’s not something valuable enough to store in a tunnel? The site used to be owned by the Dover Storage Company.

    What’s really good about them is the variety of construction methods. There are unlined chalk tunnels with simple arched vaults, while others are taller and pointed topped. Meanwhile other sections have brick linings and superb cross vaulting of the quality you’d expect to see in a church.

    Then there’s a tall bell-topped brick section possibly to a planned vent that was never completed. How was that built? Usually the bell tops (you can find these on top of wells and cisterns – if you’re ever drilling on a site and come across a sloping brick surface buried underground, it’s a good idea to stop drilling. Last time I know it happened the kango drill went straight through and dropped about 200 ft into the darkness of a very deep well – the guy operating it luckily didn’t follow)) are built from above onto a temporary wooden framework. Not so easy from below.

    There’s also the blocked access to a secret platform connected to the railway main line – now all you can see of this from the DOE tunnels is a set of steps going down to a block wall. This is possibly the only 20th century part.

    A fire in the last 20 or so years has damaged some sections which are now sealed off – you can see traces in some high level vents. It’s interesting that they cross ventilated several otherwise completely separated tunnel systems.

    Interesting trace of an old poster going back to its time as an air raid shelter – you can just about make out the name Anderson (the Cabinet minister also responsible for the free issuing of the Anderson shelter)






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  2. DarkDog

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

    Jan 15, 2009
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    D.o.E - Department of the Environment. They're only referred to as this because of the 1970s Fire Brigade plans which used this name, the same way that 'Z' Rockets at St. Margaret's is used, when the Deep Shelter was nothing to do with the Z Rocket Battery. As Wevsky has pointed out, as each new generation comes along a new name is given, the best example is the Soldiers' Home Caves (original name), which has become known as the Historex Tunnels, even though Historex only moved into the building around 1991.
    #2 DarkDog, Feb 7, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  3. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator

    Mar 19, 2007
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    Indeed Darkdog,

    It was the government department responsible for maintaining public buildings both occupied and monuments etc. From 1972 it split into two with the PSA

    Ministry of Works (MOW) 1943 - 1962

    Ministry of Public Building and Works (MPBW) 1962 >

    Department of the Environment (DOE) 1970 -1996

    Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) 1996 - 2001

    Became 'Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) when the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) was merged with part of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and with a small part of the Home Office.

    Property Services Agency (PSA) 1972 -1996

    Since the break-up of the PSA many government departments have taken back responsibility for their estates management, and set up their own property management departments. The largest of these is Defence Estates, looking after the military sites and land operated by the Ministry of Defence.

    You will see plans and old signs with any of the above at times! Burlington for example was maintained by 'All of the above' during its active life under the control of the 'Home Office'
    #3 Ordnance, Feb 7, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
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