Report - - Henley air raid shelters, Northfleet - Feb. 2011 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Henley air raid shelters, Northfleet - Feb. 2011


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Like the Shorts tunnels these are built at grade into an adjacent chalk cliff which would have made accessing them very quick (besides, being right beside the Thames you wouldn’t want to have gone down below the water table). They have a common plan of a grid of intercommunicating tunnels with a number of portals giving access to them via offset entrances (for blast protection).

Henley’s were involved in degaussing component (anti-magnetic mine) manufacture and their location on the Thames must have made them a regular target. Apparently they had 2000 employees – it seems unlikely that they’d have all been able to fit in here (there are some post war brick walls blocking the tunnels at certain points and I wondered if there were more tunnels beyond originally?), but it’s likely that during the war they worked in shifts which would have reduced the numbers needing to fit in.

The tunnels are lined with neatly shuttered concrete, a higher grade of finish than that seen on a lot of other air raid shelters in the area which often have sheet metal, timber or even bare chalk ceilings. I couldn’t see any signs of benches having been fixed to walls – but signs on the walls refer to seats so there may be have been loose benches.

Apart from the remains of the gas contamination and air filtration and lighting plant, the piles (perhaps not the best word) of Elsan toilets were about the only fittings present.

Thanks to Wevsky for the heads up on this one :thumb