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Report - Coulsdon Deep Shelter, Coulsdon, Surrey - August 2013

Seffy

Bally up!
Regular User
#1
Coulsdon Deep Shelter, Coulsdon, Surrey

Some brief history for you, even though this history must be known by now...

This large public air raid shelter is one of four which were proposed and built by Surrey Council at the beginning of WW2, the others being at Epsom Downs, Ashley Road in Epsom and Kenley.
The plan was to build 3 parallel longitudinal tunnels into the chalk hillside with 4 parallel lateral tunnels linking them.
The plan was never fully carried out with two of the longitudinal tunnels stopping in a sheer white face of chalk.
After the war the shelter was mothballed and lay empty until a firm that made precision lenses for telescopes took them over. The constant temperature was ideal for the processes involved and the long tunnels perfect for testing the focus of the lenses. Sadly the dampness and coldness was not conducive for the electrical sockets and precision machinery so the ever-inventive workers reverse wired a fridge so it would act as a dehumidifier and keep the condensation levels down.
Eventually the optical firm moved out and was replaced by a motor vehicle repair workshop. After some time they also moved out and the shelter was mothballed and sealed shut again.
We tried CDS last year, but got there literally as it had just been sealed again (can't think why...) so we had no luck. Over a year later, we were nearby and having heard only the day before that someone else had been down, we knew we'd have some luck. The weather was absolutely shocking (and it was to continue into the night for our adventures then too), but we just had to make do and deal with it.

Cheers to Oxygen Thief and JasperB for details regarding the place, even though it is now a year ago that you gave them to me!

I'm really not too happy with my photos from this trip, most likely due to my lack or experience with underground photography, and the fact that all I had was a rather dim P7.

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Ta :thumb
 

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