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Report - Shorts Tunnels, Rochester - March 2013

Maniac

rebmeM LD82
Regular User
#1
Been meaning to post this a while. Shorts tunnels will always be a bit special when I visit it, as it was pretty much the first place I explored and took photos of about 6 years ago. Hearing recently it was open again I couldn't resist a look and the chance to take some better photos of it.

I'm re-borrowing Wevsky's already borrowed history, because quite frankly it sums the place up nicely. (I shall return it once done Wevsky, don't worry)

These tunnels were constructed in 1941 at the rear of the Shorts Seaplane Factory, on the esplanade at Rochester. The original tunnels were two large, brick lined vaults, which were used by the company as a workshop area. These were later connected, by a 1,300 ft tunnel, to a series of underground passages, which were constructed as a public air raid shelter. The air raid tunnels contain a number of original stenciled signs, for 'No Smoking' and for toilets, and are formed of two main parallel tunnels with intersecting spur tunnels. Both the factory tunnels and the air raid shelters have emergency escape adits, which exit in the cliff face at regular intervals or lead to shafts with manhole covers on the surface. There is a great deal of interesting WW2 graffiti to be found in the air raid tunnels, including drawings of planes etc. After the war, the tunnels were used by construction company Blaw Knox as storage, and documents from this time can be found scattered around. The tunnels have remained abandoned since the 1990s, when Blaw Knox left, and a housing estate has been built on the factory site.

And here's some photos. Firstly the Factory tunnels themselves.

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And then the air raid shelters.

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As usual I forgot to get pics of the medical area and a few other bits, but there you go.

Thanks for looking!

Maniac.
 

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