Report - Deepdene ww2 bunker and bonus outbuilding jan2015

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Dec 3, 2014
Had brief visit here Saturday to check access. Returned with camera and mask for a good explore. Pictures aren't the best as I'm more into the explore although would like to get better seeing the quality of some pictures on here. Found another little out building whilst looking round Saturday. Not seen pictures of it before.

Borrowed history.
"When the Southern Railway took over Deepdene House (also known as the Deepdene Hotel) for its wartime Headquarters it discovered that there were natural caves in the grounds. These caves had been acknowledged 300 years before in the diaries of John Evelyn. Because of the natural protection afforded by the location of the caves they were eminently suitable for the development of a bunker to house both the sites switchboard and the Traffic Control. The lawn between the caves and the house was used as a site for the 99foot mast supporting aerials of the emergency radio. The bunker was constructed within the caves which were enlarged to house the 30 staff and once complete their emergency headquarters with office staff was moved there from Waterloo.

The network of tunnels included a Control Room, meeting room, 3-position switchboard, battery room, main distribution frame (MDF)/maintainers room, a bedroom for the night officer and an air plant and toilet facilities. A 60-foot vertical shaft at the rear of the complex provided an air inlet and emergency exit. A 4 foot thick concrete slab covered the complex but no protection was provided against a ‘near miss’

The Southern Railway General Manager Eustace Missenden lived nearby and had a switchboard extension in his house. During the air raids he spent many nights there with his wife and it is reputed that the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was a visitor.

The bunker consisted of a series of tunnels partly natural driven into the steep hillside to the rear of the former hotel. There were three entrances plus a fourth emergency exit accessed from the hillside 50 feet above via a spiral staircase.

Even after the war the exchange remained in use and one visitor in the 1960's remembers three operators and he noticed one of the side tunnels still contained bunk beds.

British Railways left Deepdene in the mid 1960's and the house was demolished in 1969 with a modern office block being built on the site; this is now the Headquarters of Kuoni Travel. For many years the tunnels lay forgotten in the bushes to the rear of the office block but in 1997 local children started a small fire just inside one of the entrance tunnels and when the fire brigade came to extinguish the it they found the whole network was heavily contaminated with asbestos, so much so that they had to dispose of all their clothes after the incident.

As a result of this information, Kuoni commissioned a survey of the tunnels by Redhill Analysts who confirmed that most of the complex and two of the small surface buildings were heavily contaminated with both white asbestos (Chrysotile) and blue asbestos (Crocidolite). Shortly afterwards all four entrances, and the contaminated surface buildings were sealed.

In June 1999 Subterranea Britannica approached Kuoni for permission to break into the tunnels to carry out a photographic survey and although English Heritage had previously been turned down permission was granted on the understanding that the entrance was repaired the same day and those people entering the tunnels signed a relevant disclaimer.


















This is the other out building. The circular part is about 5m deep and tapers from top to bottom with a two foot hole at the top.









Thanks for looking.
Last edited:


Staff member
Nov 24, 2008
Good to see again, you should go and look at Coulsdon too, not sure what state of play is, but doesn't harm to have a look, it's far more stripped than here but worthy of a visit if you're into that sort if thing


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Dec 3, 2014
I intend to pay a visit there soon. I've been doing my homework about location etc so in the near future I'll get over there.:thumb


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Jan 19, 2010
The Circular Building looks a bit like an Ice House, I'm sure that Deepdene House would have had one. Most of the big houses in this area had them.


Dave W

Industrial Pornographer
Regular User
Dec 1, 2009
Yes definitely an Ice House. Looks like some interesting period tat dumped down that one!


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Dec 3, 2014
Good to know what it is. There is minimal litter around so anything there is original I'd guess.