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Lead or Rumour info - Maidstone Tunnels

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Maniac

rebmeM LD82
Regular User
#2
Hi I'm new to this site but have been watching it for a while.
I read an article talking about tunnels running all under Maidstone --

http://kent.greatbritishlife.co.uk/article/hidden-kent-25075/

I was wondering if anyone had anymore infomation on these because I've tried the museums and councils but they're keeping their lips shut.

This is kind of my personal holy grail of finds!
I've heard rumours before, but never really investigated. Given the age of Maidstone as a Town it wouldn't surprise me. That photo with the article is taken in Mote Park I think, so that could be a good starting point. :)
 

AdamAnonymous

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#3
Cheers are you from Maidstone then? Because I have one possible lead on it.

Also apparently there's meant to be a tunnel from the hospital all the way to town which was used during the war but that seems a bit too over the top to believe
 

AdamAnonymous

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#5
Hmmm yer cheers, I've been to quite a few buildings in the area but want to get into tunnels.

Does anyone know if maidstone has any utility tunnels around the town? because I've lifted a few manhole covers but nothing interesting.
 

vikingaero

28DL Member
28DL Member
#6
That article is a fair few years old. Mike Clinch hasn't been the Secretary of KURG for a couple of years.

My first port of call, if the museum and library are unhelpful, would be the National Archives to look at old maps and plans of Maidstone. Armed with these I would then have a look at the river and check out if there are any blocked or unusual features.

There was a set of Medieval tunnels which were discovered when the Travelodge building was constructed. I believe they used piles in the area to preserve the tunnels so there may be some form of access?

The rumours that I have heard are that the main tunnels originate underneath the old Chiesman Department Store building. This is the block on the corner of the High Street and Pudding Lane. On the Pudding Lane side of the building there is/was a basement bar based on some Wild West/Country & Western theme and there are meant to be access to the tunnels from here.

The next block on the corner of Pudding Lane and Medway street are supposed to have some interesting drains/gated entrances that you can access from the car park next to the Indian Restaurant.

I imagine that the tunnels, if any, are blocked from changes in ownership of buildings of the centuries and the construction of the dual carriageway by the river.
 

nabennettcarp

28DL Member
28DL Member
#7
I've heard the opticians at the top of Gabriels hill (where the bus stops are) is above alot of tunnels, there is apparently a chapel inbetween that building and the Lush shop on the other side. I dont know much more, but my grandma is very into history and this is all i remember her saying..
 

Liesel

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#8
There is a series of vaults running under what was Rawlings Opticians and down Bank Street, I can't find much online but my dad has some bits in an old history book I can find and scan in...

I've not heard of tunnels around Maidstone, although I'd believe it as lots of old buildings around.... I have however heard of the tunnels running to Preston Hall, at school and as a bit of an ongoing interest, I did a lot of research into the old Oakwood Hospital, which was the Kent County Lunatic Asylum, rumours ranged from tunnels going to the Heath across the road, which is where they buried the dead(apparantly) and is the undisclosed reason for the road collapsing years ago and newly built houses in Springfield Close subsiding... I have heard that the tunnels ran to Preston Hall, but so much of what went on at Oakwood is classified I wonder if we'll ever know... When the hospital first shut I used to go mooching about, we found all sorts there, but we did end up a couple of floors underground and found a massive wooden door that looked like it lead somewhere cavey looking.... I wish we'd got in and wish it was still accessible now! Theres a guy on here thats very knowledgable about the hospital and tunnel rumours, can't remember his name....
I worked in Argos on the High Street and there was a blocked up cellar underneath, so who knows.... I'll try and dig those old books out and see what I can find!
I'd be up for a recce if need be!
 

AdamAnonymous

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#10
Cheers guys any info is a help. I've done lots of walks around town.
There is a little alley next to the lush shop with some older looking buildings along it but they just look like flats or storage rooms now do I guess entry would be a no go.

Also where abouts was the old hospital located because I live in Springfield and have never heard it mentioned. I know that under the library tower there is an emergency meeting bunker which could be used by heads of forces/ mayor incase of trouble.
Walking along the river that side there seems to be a lot of overgrowth with but a small looking path which could lead to an entrance.

Sorry to go on but one last thing. It just made me wonder why years after knocking it down they haven't built anything along the main road there.
Thanks again for the info.
 

curiousi

28DL Member
28DL Member
#11
Not sure if this thread is still live, was speaking to shopkeeper on Knightrider Street who was talking about the current gas utilities works on Knightrider Street. Said the engineers were talking about a tunnel that runs under stone street from Maidstone to Mote park, 6 / 7 metres down, shopkeeper verified this with an elderly resident who said the tunnels were escape tunnels from WW2.

Curiously have just found article mentioning sandstone mines under Mote Park, wonder if there is any linkage..?

I live fairly close so interested to know more.
 

AdamAnonymous

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#12
Hi there!
Cheers for the reply.

I would be amazed if they dug a tunnel that far but it could have some truth.

I'll provide a link later about the mines. I know where one access point was but this has now been bricked over.

Anymore info would be interesting. I'll have to go over to the new library/archives to try and dig out information.
 

curiousi

28DL Member
28DL Member
#13
It may not be so far fetched, the old police station was at the corner of Knightrider St and Stone St, Mote House was used in the war for various things and Kent was frontline. There was work done on the town hall in the late 30's and the new police headquarters also came online in the 1930's. From a few leaps of faith would theorise that townhall / high street maybe linked to old police station through to Mote park / Mote House.

I'll do some digging (not literally).

Makes me see Maidstone in slightly different light as never really seemed like an interesing place...
 

AdamAnonymous

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#14
If that's true that'd be amazing!

I guess my next step is to look for records in the county hall. I'll go in next week and if I find anything interesting I'll post it online.

Also in another thread about Maidstone someone posted a map of all the waterways but it soon got deleted off a 3rd party website, so I'll ask them to repost!
 
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