Report - - Coulsdon Deep Shelter, Surrey - May 2021 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Coulsdon Deep Shelter, Surrey - May 2021


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Visited with @Chloe Explores and @Nightfox

Our second explore on our afternoon of underground stuff. Myself, Chloe and Zoe did visit a few days previously but it was really dark and piddling down with rain so we decided not to go in.

I have been wanting to go in here for quite some time now so it was nice to finally go. After my initial thoughts of getting in was going to be an utter nightmare it’s very spacious inside but it’s been hit hard by vandals. Looking at old explorers photos of this place things have been moved, removed and sprayed on. I was pleasantly surprised at how big the tunnels are considering the tunnels at Deepdene aren’t very big at all.

Had a great explore and surprised we didn’t see anyone else as it’s quite popular at the moment. War tunnels fascinate me, especially what remains inside and that they’re still intact. I’ve sat in an air raid shelter simulator and that was a haunting experience, can’t imagine how people sheltering in one back in the War must have felt.

ive borrowed the history from here but changed it up a bit...

History -

The shelter was constructed in 1941 by the Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council, a reference in the minutes of the council’s War Emergency Committee dated 11th March 1941, reads: ‘Read letter from London Civil Defence Region, dated 5th March, stating that the Regional Commissioners approve payment of the sum of £1 per annum being the agreed rental for the use of land forming part of the site of the Cane Hill Mental Hospital for the erection of a public air raid shelter.’

After the war the shelter was occupied by Cox, Hargreaves and Thomson Ltd, a firm which manufactured optical instruments. Documentation left in the tunnels by this firm and discovered in the late 1960s or early 1970s helpfully included reports which described the site; one was by Cox, Hargreaves and Thomson with the other by Craig, Hall and Co. Chartered Surveyors on behalf of Cox et al and presumably to inform their potential occupancy decision. Extracts from both include descriptions, dimensions and an explanation of the original use of some sections of tunnels; for example the east gallery (north) was the canteen, the east gallery (south) housed lavatories and the north bay of the central gallery housed the Warden’s office. The poor condition of the shelter prior to the firm’s tenancy was also recorded including vandalised plumbing, decayed timber and water ingress. From these documents we also know that the chamber at the north end of the first transverse tunnel housed a large polishing machine capable of dealing with mirrors up to 80’’ in diameter, with the whole length of the transverse tunnel available for testing. We are also told that externally a cutting had been excavated in the 1940s to serve as a roadway giving access to the three entrances.

Above ground the tunnels were originally accessed from the south-east via three adit entrances, two of which – the north-east and south-west tunnels – were entered from a lateral roadway in a cutting which was constructed to allow access. The central tunnel extends further to the south-east through an earthen blast bank, beyond which is a level area believed to have been used for parking.

Underground the tunnels are laid out on a grid system oriented north-west to south-east. The three aforementioned tunnels are crossed at right angles by two parallel transverse tunnels, plus a number of additional chambers. The three entrance tunnels are all dog-legged at their south-eastern ends, the central (and presumably principal) entrance being the most complex in plan. This tunnel also has a short cross-spur between the two transverse tunnels and terminates in a C-shaped arrangement at the base of a ventilation shaft at its north-west end. At the northern terminal end of the first (most easterly) transverse tunnel is a chamber 30’ long, 10’ wide and 10’ high (all dimensions from historical documentation). The central tunnel is 240’ long and the transverse tunnels 235’ long.

The tunnels are in the main 9’ high by 7’ wide (all dimensions from historical documentation) and are brick-lined with vaulted roofs.

Some remnants of machinery remain as. Throughout the tunnels there are also occasional survivals of original lighting, including Bakelite fittings, and plumbing.

With thanks to the poster of the original report.





















28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nicely lit photos !


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
This looks amazing, tunnels definitely have a different vibe about them, those photos are great!

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