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Report - - Chatham Dockyard Civil Defence HQ - February 2017 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Chatham Dockyard Civil Defence HQ - February 2017



SubEx-FRAG

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Ok so I’m writing this report with a little sadness as I was informed yesterday (with photographic proof) that this place has now been well and truly sealed with a brand new heavy duty metal door. This is probably due to the fact that the entire site and surrounding areas are up for development. I have searched the forum and this place has never been reported so I felt it fitting to post this to share with everyone.

Searching the internet for info on this place doesn’t turn much up, not even on Subbrit. But http://www.subterraneanhistory.co.uk/2008/09/dockyard-ww2-hq-chatham.html has this to say...

“This vaulted tunnel was original designed by Marc Brunel and built at the beginning of the 19th Century. Its purpose was to allow timber to be brought from a nearby canal to the Brunel Sawmill, within Chatham Dockyard. After the closure of the timber yard, the tunnel was re-used as a Civil Defence HQ. Halfway along the remaining section of the tunnel a second floor has been added, giving this area two levels, the lower level forming the rooms for the HQ. A few interesting items, such as wall fixings, tables and a chalk board still remain in situ from this time. Blast walls have also been added in the other parts of the tunnel, and three emergency exits created.”

What SubTerraneanHistory fails to note is just how many unique and original items this place has to offer. When I visited this place I was on my own so lighting is not as great as I would have wanted but I think I got some fairly good results regardless. So, here are some photos and some descriptions as we go…

1. When you first enter you meet the upper level of the Civil Defence HQ part of the tunnel. This upper section has low head height so I’m guessing its was used for storage and also the ventilation system…
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2. The remains of the ventilation system…
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3. This area also has an emergency escape shaft…
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4. Up the emergency escape shaft…
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5. At the end of this section you can then see the remains of the old saw mill tunnel that was backfilled in order to create the Civil Defence HQ…
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6. The lower level of the Civil Defence HQ end of the tunnel…
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7. The lower levels main room with chalk boards still in place…
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8. Signage still visible on one of the boards…
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9. Further into the lower level, things really get interesting. Here we have what I can only presume to be the communication room. Telephone stations and chairs remain intact…
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10. This is located directly behind the telephone positions and I have no idea what it is…
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11. If you go the other way through the tunnel you find that it has been vaulted with blast walls separating each section…
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12. Many of the vaults are like this one. Empty with the exception of some debris…
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13. Others have features such as original work benches…
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14. This one has some great original shelving…
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15. Finally towards the filled entrance that would have been closest to the river we find a blast door…
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Let’s finish off with some of the items and features:

16. I have seen these switches in many underground locations in the area…
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17. Original light fittings (some with bulbs)…
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18. The remains of some electrical device…
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19. An old sign from (I presume) the dockyard…
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20. Old fire extinguisher with Naval “anchor” marking…
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21. Finally my favourite I think. At what would have been the entrance closest to the docks, a fuse board with cool red light for during air raids…
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Sub Exploration

Hopefully that wasn’t too long of a report but it’s an interesting place and no ones getting in any time soon.