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Report - Durham Hill/Soldiers Home/Crouchers/Barwicks tunnels - Dover - Jan 2011

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Maniac, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. Maniac

    Maniac rebmeM LD82
    Regular User

    Mar 5, 2007
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    This complex of tunnels all run into one another, but are all owned and used by different people with the exception of the Durham Hill tunnel which is too unstable to be used for anything.

    Up until WW2 some of the sets of caves/tunnels existed seperately, but during WW2 they were linked up with a single tunnel which intersected them all and also extended to form a second entrance on Durham Hill, hence the name Durham Hill Tunnel for that section.

    Durham Hill Tunnel
    This part was excavated in WW2 to form a shelter and another entrance to the complex on Durham Hill in Dover. In 1944 part of the tunnel was damaged by an enemy shell which also killed a lady who was in the shelter at the time. The damage still exists to this day as it was never repaired, and the resulting roof fall now separates the durham hill entrance from the rest of the tunnels.

    This is sometimes refered to as the Cowgate Tunnel, or the Cowgate Street ARP shelter and is very unstable in parts.

    Right up the far end by the blockage, looking back. This part is concrete lined.


    From the other end

    And the very unstable part leading up to it.


    Soldiers Home Caves
    Parts of these were also excavated in WW2 and intersect all the pre-existing tunnels as well as an old lime kiln on the way.

    Brick lined section near the entrance just inside the cliff face - this was pre-existing.

    Section of the interlinking tunnel which was excavated in WW2

    Part of the old lime kiln which also serves as another entrance into the complex.

    Tunnel leading up the the kiln.

    Crouchers Tunnels
    These tunnels are known as 'Croucher's Tunnels' after the Croucher & Co Shipwrights, who operated from premises in front of the tunnels in the 1960s & 70s, and used the tunnels as a store. Prior to this they seem to have been known as 'Bushell's Caves', presumably after Bushell & Co. who previously occupied the site. The tunnels themselves form the centre section of the tunnels on Snargate Street.

    These are still very much in use and we were very lucky to see them.







    Courts' Wine Vaults/Barwicks caves.
    These tunnels were excavated by Dover wine merchant Stephen Court at the beginning of the 19th Century. They were dug into cliffs at the rear of the Courts' premises in Snargate Street, and along with terraced gardens and a folly shaped like Dover Castle on the cliff face, were a tourist attraction in their day.

    During the war they formed part of the air raid shelter complex, and after the war local building firm R.J Barwick moved onto the site and the caves have been known as 'Barwick's Caves' ever since.



    Stuff in storage down there includes loads of silk screens used for printing.

    And there's some very interesting decorative engravings down there as well.

    All in all a very interesting set of tunnels.

    Cheers for looking.

    Maniac. :)

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