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Report - - Epsom Deep Shelter | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Epsom Deep Shelter



Cariad1313

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
History

There are multiple theories as to why Epsom deep shelter was constructed. A report by Surrey County Council states that the air raid shelter was built in 1941 during The Second World War, costing £26,658 and taking only one year to erect. The shelter made use of its 4.5 acres of land to accommodate a whopping 1500 people. Although 1941 marked the end of The Biltz (a German bombing campaign against Britain), the shelter wasn’t much use by the time it was functioning. While there was another sustained period of bombing in 1944 from V-1 rockets, October of that same year saw the capture of the last V-1 site capable of launching attacks on Britain.

AshleyRoadShelterPlan1.jpg

Some would speculate that a purpose-built shelter would have cost a lot more and taken longer to build. There were rumours in the local community that some form of underground complex existed and that it was being built to extend the Underground between Morden and Epsom Downs Racecourse to direct traffic. Rumours have it that this was just a cover-up for what the complex really was. We’ve established that it doesn’t seem feasible that the shelter was built in a year, therefore suspicions turned to Lady Sybil Grant – the daughter of Lord Rosebery – who is thought to be the original owner. Lady Grant was an eccentric character and it was thought that she had commissioned for the complex to be built as a Necropolis for wealthy families. The unusual structure of the shelter supports this theory – the gentle incline of the entrance tunnel would have been ideal for byre coffin trollies which weren’t fitted with brakes and the (now) lavatories would have been used by upper-middle-class families to inter their deceased relatives. It was even speculated that some of the chambers would have been purchased by wealthy families to use as their mausoleums. Lady Grant was involved in a fundraiser during the First World War and perhaps thought up the idea and then, once World War Two began, decided on a more practical use for the shelter.​

A report by the late Peter Cobb in 2003 concluded that the construction style of the complex was clearly pre-war. There were no blast chambers at the bends of the entrance tunnel, which would have been expected if this complex was a purpose-built air raid shelter. English Heritage claimed the complex was built in 1937, nullifying the claims that the complex was a purpose-built shelter. The question remains; why was the original purpose of this complex covered up?​


The Living Conditions

There have been many reports from “inmates” of the shelter - most describing the shelter as cold and dismal. The tunnels carved out of chalk and flint sub-strata had to be lined with either open mesh or galvanised corrugated iron sheets, supported by various types of steel sections. Two and three-tier bunks lined both sides of the 2.5 meter wide tunnels. Electric fan motors in the air shaft at the southern end of the shelter provided light and power, with auxiliary petrol driven ‘stand-by’ if the electric power was to fail. There was also an oil fired boiler to control the incoming air temperature and domestic hot water. In the lavatories towards the north entrance of the shelter would have been at least one low-level sump which would’ve pumped waste to a sewer on Ashley Road. The shelter was built on a slight incline of 10 meters meaning that the deepest level of the shelter would be 20 meters below ground. As you can imagine, the shelter would have been packed to the brim with 1500 and more visitors and staff (according to later reports) at any one time.​

Post-War

The complex has been rumoured to be used as a shelter in the event of a nuclear attack; the shelter has since been neglected, falling victim to vandalism, break-ins and looting. For a period, it was used by an airsoft war game company, however, since January 2017, it hasn’t been much use to anyone except for some species of bats. The now owner has given up on trying to let it out as storage area and it has since been consumed by the darkness and become a forgotten part of Ashley Road.


The Explore

The explore for this one was short and sweet. Again, my partner and I decided to explore this place after rumours of a way in. When we arrived, we were disappointed to find the shelter is now a dumping ground for beer cans and the original brickwork has been imaginatively spray painted over. The electric supply no longer works so we ventured into the dark abyss with nothing more than a flashlight. Upon first entering, we felt as though weren’t alone. With a college situated just down the road, we assumed its students used the shelter as a hideaway to smoke and drink. My partner swears he saw another flashlight glide along the tunnel behind him, but we had explored the whole thing and there was nobody there. We decided to head out for a short break. Assuming the shelter was much larger than it actually was, we formulated a game plan so that we wouldn’t get lost. Two other people arrived shortly after and we got talking about the shelter. One of the two told us that there was another entrance the shelter through a shaft above it. Eventually, we found what we assume to be the second entrance shaft and the exposed chalk which seemed to go on forever.

We took a good look at the lavatories which got me to wondering how anyone could have used the narrow stalls with ease. But, if the speculations are correct, then the stalls would be the perfect size to inter the deceased. The intricate brickwork was unique to the lavatories which made us wonder why the rest of the shelter wasn’t bricked out in the same way.​


There isn’t much to say about this explore – oh, apart from a creeping rocking horse laying discarded in the entrance tunnel! I have to admit that we were a little confused by the shelter’s map as some of the chambers didn’t seem to have entrances – but that could be a mistake on our behalf. I’m from Wales originally so I have seen a lot of caves and ex air-raid shelters, so I knew what to expect on this explore. Still, it was a nice explore to check off our list.

BE71F7D1-09DB-4754-BF44-76B2E81EC346.jpg

Entrance tunnel has a slight decline and smooth concrete floor - ideal for wheeling something along here isn't it?

4C839B0C-2AE8-4F6E-95C7-29C8425EC0E0.jpg

The narrow lavatory cubicles which are rumoured to be where wealthy families would inter their deceased relatives.

69E8CB3B-6DB1-4C9B-ACA6-010F1896BBF0.jpg
211877C7-D3CF-4CB2-97E2-2952CAC05E38.jpg

C13DBF59-9460-47E5-9972-1940D2F26689.jpg

Corrugated metal sheets protecting the fragile chalk tunnel with support from steel beams.

62BD2768-C9AF-45D9-8755-BEDDC40C045F.jpg

The main, heavily graffitied tunnel running through the centre of the complex. Smooth concrete mix floors, unlike the west and east tunnels which are dirt walkways.

58C5CA45-D5D3-45D6-9D50-8A1C2087F405.jpg
851619D6-D993-4303-84E8-0D66D8A20DF6.jpg

Iron mesh covering the exposed chalk. It's almost as if this tunnel had a different purpose compared to the corrugated metal tunnel...

13C6D1D1-8ED5-4662-BB2D-336C8FE8FA01.jpg

Small roof just off of the entrance tunnel. Not reinforced or deep enough to be an impact chamber - a waiting area perhaps?

75E3B5C8-73B3-44EA-A179-84940F0657AE.jpeg

A discarded book. I'm hoping it was left here by someone who once occupied these tunnels but the likelihood is that this book is quite recent and considering there is a college down the road, it is the more likely of the two.




All photos were taken on an iPhone XR.




 

decauville1126

28DL Member
28DL Member
#8
Back in the 1960's we used to go in there as I lived nearby. We were always under the impression it was to be used as an "underground hospital". Nice to know it's still there and being rediscovered.
 

Cariad1313

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#9
Back in the 1960's we used to go in there as I lived nearby. We were always under the impression it was to be used as an "underground hospital". Nice to know it's still there and being rediscovered.
Wow that’s so cool! Near my mum’s house in Wales (where I grow up) is an old munitions factory. It was mostly demolished when I was a kid but I recently went back and the foundations of of the factory are still there which was nice to see. It’s amazing how the things we see as children can be preserved and enjoyed by people years down the line!
 

whiskeygalore

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#10
History

There are multiple theories as to why Epsom deep shelter was constructed. A report by Surrey County Council states that the air raid shelter was built in 1941 during The Second World War, costing £26,658 and taking only one year to erect. The shelter made use of its 4.5 acres of land to accommodate a whopping 1500 people. Although 1941 marked the end of The Biltz (a German bombing campaign against Britain), the shelter wasn’t much use by the time it was functioning. While there was another sustained period of bombing in 1944 from V-1 rockets, October of that same year saw the capture of the last V-1 site capable of launching attacks on Britain.

View attachment 792120

Some would speculate that a purpose-built shelter would have cost a lot more and taken longer to build. There were rumours in the local community that some form of underground complex existed and that it was being built to extend the Underground between Morden and Epsom Downs Racecourse to direct traffic. Rumours have it that this was just a cover-up for what the complex really was. We’ve established that it doesn’t seem feasible that the shelter was built in a year, therefore suspicions turned to Lady Sybil Grant – the daughter of Lord Rosebery – who is thought to be the original owner. Lady Grant was an eccentric character and it was thought that she had commissioned for the complex to be built as a Necropolis for wealthy families. The unusual structure of the shelter supports this theory – the gentle incline of the entrance tunnel would have been ideal for byre coffin trollies which weren’t fitted with brakes and the (now) lavatories would have been used by upper-middle-class families to inter their deceased relatives. It was even speculated that some of the chambers would have been purchased by wealthy families to use as their mausoleums. Lady Grant was involved in a fundraiser during the First World War and perhaps thought up the idea and then, once World War Two began, decided on a more practical use for the shelter.​

A report by the late Peter Cobb in 2003 concluded that the construction style of the complex was clearly pre-war. There were no blast chambers at the bends of the entrance tunnel, which would have been expected if this complex was a purpose-built air raid shelter. English Heritage claimed the complex was built in 1937, nullifying the claims that the complex was a purpose-built shelter. The question remains; why was the original purpose of this complex covered up?​


The Living Conditions

There have been many reports from “inmates” of the shelter - most describing the shelter as cold and dismal. The tunnels carved out of chalk and flint sub-strata had to be lined with either open mesh or galvanised corrugated iron sheets, supported by various types of steel sections. Two and three-tier bunks lined both sides of the 2.5 meter wide tunnels. Electric fan motors in the air shaft at the southern end of the shelter provided light and power, with auxiliary petrol driven ‘stand-by’ if the electric power was to fail. There was also an oil fired boiler to control the incoming air temperature and domestic hot water. In the lavatories towards the north entrance of the shelter would have been at least one low-level sump which would’ve pumped waste to a sewer on Ashley Road. The shelter was built on a slight incline of 10 meters meaning that the deepest level of the shelter would be 20 meters below ground. As you can imagine, the shelter would have been packed to the brim with 1500 and more visitors and staff (according to later reports) at any one time.​

Post-War

The complex has been rumoured to be used as a shelter in the event of a nuclear attack; the shelter has since been neglected, falling victim to vandalism, break-ins and looting. For a period, it was used by an airsoft war game company, however, since January 2017, it hasn’t been much use to anyone except for some species of bats. The now owner has given up on trying to let it out as storage area and it has since been consumed by the darkness and become a forgotten part of Ashley Road.


The Explore

The explore for this one was short and sweet. Again, my partner and I decided to explore this place after rumours of a way in. When we arrived, we were disappointed to find the shelter is now a dumping ground for beer cans and the original brickwork has been imaginatively spray painted over. The electric supply no longer works so we ventured into the dark abyss with nothing more than a flashlight. Upon first entering, we felt as though weren’t alone. With a college situated just down the road, we assumed its students used the shelter as a hideaway to smoke and drink. My partner swears he saw another flashlight glide along the tunnel behind him, but we had explored the whole thing and there was nobody there. We decided to head out for a short break. Assuming the shelter was much larger than it actually was, we formulated a game plan so that we wouldn’t get lost. Two other people arrived shortly after and we got talking about the shelter. One of the two told us that there was another entrance the shelter through a shaft above it. Eventually, we found what we assume to be the second entrance shaft and the exposed chalk which seemed to go on forever.

We took a good look at the lavatories which got me to wondering how anyone could have used the narrow stalls with ease. But, if the speculations are correct, then the stalls would be the perfect size to inter the deceased. The intricate brickwork was unique to the lavatories which made us wonder why the rest of the shelter wasn’t bricked out in the same way.​


There isn’t much to say about this explore – oh, apart from a creeping rocking horse laying discarded in the entrance tunnel! I have to admit that we were a little confused by the shelter’s map as some of the chambers didn’t seem to have entrances – but that could be a mistake on our behalf. I’m from Wales originally so I have seen a lot of caves and ex air-raid shelters, so I knew what to expect on this explore. Still, it was a nice explore to check off our list.

View attachment 792119
Entrance tunnel has a slight decline and smooth concrete floor - ideal for wheeling something along here isn't it?

View attachment 792121
The narrow lavatory cubicles which are rumoured to be where wealthy families would inter their deceased relatives.

View attachment 792122 View attachment 792124
View attachment 792125
Corrugated metal sheets protecting the fragile chalk tunnel with support from steel beams.

View attachment 792123
The main, heavily graffitied tunnel running through the centre of the complex. Smooth concrete mix floors, unlike the west and east tunnels which are dirt walkways.

View attachment 792126 View attachment 792127
Iron mesh covering the exposed chalk. It's almost as if this tunnel had a different purpose compared to the corrugated metal tunnel...

View attachment 792128
Small roof just off of the entrance tunnel. Not reinforced or deep enough to be an impact chamber - a waiting area perhaps?

View attachment 792129
A discarded book. I'm hoping it was left here by someone who once occupied these tunnels but the likelihood is that this book is quite recent and considering there is a college down the road, it is the more likely of the two.




All photos were taken on an iPhone XR.




Did you find any salts down there, what with it being Epsom? Nice photos by the way :-)
 

Oort

Fear is the little death
Regular User
#11
Needs a tripod and a decent torch. Decent write up though.
 

Oort

Fear is the little death
Regular User
#13
Last edited:

Punk

Irregular Member
Regular User
#14
I mean, I didn’t ask for your advice.
I have to agree with @Oort. You may not have asked for advice, but a bit of constructive criticism and advice never hurts.
A Lenser P7 is well priced and effective. Using a tripod and a decent torch to light paint a place will balance the light evenly around the image, and the image will be sharper :thumb
 

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