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Report - - Storm Releif Chalk Mine, Dartford, Kent - September 2020 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Storm Releif Chalk Mine, Dartford, Kent - September 2020


LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
History:
In the latter half of the 19th century, the railway network had expanded rapidly, connecting up towns and villages to London, enabling more people to still work within the capital, but move out into the countryside. With this, grew a demand on houses, and consequently, an even greater demand for building materials.
In the late 1880s, a brickwork company under the name of "C.N Kidd's" moved into Dartford, and set up two brick-earth pits which both sat under the western end of the town. These two mines were both connected via a small service tunnel, and were also used purely for extraction of chalk, which was then distributed to various brick production factories. As an area, Dartford was very convenient for businesses like this to set up, given it's close proximity to London.
The actual geology of the town, seeing as it was built upon chalk, made it an ideal place for this sort of work, as extraction was able to take place relatively close to the surface without having to create any deep boreholes.
Finally, after 6,000 tons of chalk being extracted, and over 400 meters worth of passaged having been dug, the mine ceased operation around 1912 and was later repurposed as a rubbish dump for the local brewery, leaving it's industrial past forgotten.
A few years later in 1920, the mine was repurposed once again, a large drain which was connected to the surface water sewers was fitted into the main access shaft of the mine, thus converting it into a huge storm relief soakaway, however, at the same time as the installation of the pipe, the council utilised one of the mine's caverns as a dump for local road sweepings, hence the pile of rubbish that can be seen in one of the chambers.
Lastly, in 1986, and only after a thorough inspection into the stability of the chalk, plus some additional reinforcements to the roof, a new housing estate was constructed above the mine. Leaving it disused, and it's once-vibrant industrial past, forgotten.


Layout Of The Mine

871662

The Explore:
I'd visited this mine on several occasions late last year, but not once did I decide to bring my camera for some bizarre reason (probably as it's so local to me!). However, this time around I decided It was time to finally capture this local underground gem. So, on a rather damp, stormy, miserable September evening, myself and @Sprackles thought we'd take one last look at this spot.
Upon arriving, the rain was beginning to worsen, but with neither myself nor my mate having read up on its purpose as a storm relief, we didn't think the weather would affect us, and so we jumped straight into the access point and began to make our way down. The rain was trickling in so hard is this particular area that I didn't want to risk getting my DSLR soaked, so I managed to grab a phone shot of the way down.


871666

Now, having climbed down the entirety of this uncomfortably slippery 60ft ladder, we entered the first section. I'd forgotten just how vast and cavernous this place actually was having not been in for over a year or more. It was considerably damper than previous times, which I found rather odd as there's a soakaway at the base of the ladder where the majority of the rainwater has disappeared into. Now, it was time to rattle off a few shots.

871667


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871670

At this point, the rain was beginning to come down quite heavy on the surface, as the flow of water from the storm relief pipe was beginning to increase rapidly. However, despite our better judgment and the fact It was so local, I decided to continue further seeing as we were in, and if truth be told, we knew it was unlikely we'd be returning to this mine anytime soon given the hassle it takes to actually access this place in the right way.

871672


871673


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871675

We must've spent near to an hour down here by now, and that's when @Sprackles began to mention just how thin the air was. I'd heard from some good friends of mine that when they went they found it difficult to breathe in places due to the lack of ventilation. However, on the 2 occasions, I'd been before, I didn't share the same difficulty. Although, now with it having been brought to my attention, I did start to feel exceptionally short of breath, and so we decided to grab just a few more shots and make for an early exit.

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And that was that! I must admit that these pictures weren't taken in chronological order, and the small tunnel that can be seen in the photo above was in fact our only way in and out. Worryingly, by the time we'd returned to the exit point, the water has started filling up at such a speed where had we of left it any longer, we would've been in for a swim up to surface.
Needless to say, our jeans stayed far from dry, and we'd learned the hard way about its purpose as a storm relief. All in all, another smashing night...


- Thanks For Looking -
 

Down and beyond

I am just developing the mine by improving access
Regular User
Nicely captured mate looks a good solid place you should return with some better equipment :thumb O2 levels and that change all the time it’s complicated all to do with the outside weather with a storm brewing outside you might of just escaped by the skin on your teeth but who is to no haha ! If you ever feel the air going thin get out if one of your party members says this get out it effects people differently!

anyway great report mate keep it up !!:thumb
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Nicely captured. I never knew there was a chalk mine near us. This must be mins from me. Its very nice. Nicely lite too.:thumb
 

LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
Nicely captured mate looks a good solid place you should return with some better equipment :thumb O2 levels and that change all the time it’s complicated all to do with the outside weather with a storm brewing outside you might of just escaped by the skin on your teeth but who is to no haha ! If you ever feel the air going thin get out if one of your party members says this get out it effects people differently!

anyway great report mate keep it up !!:thumb
Cheers man, the air definitely wasn’t the best down there, that’s for sure, was probably a good call to leave when we did
 

Markiejoon

28DL Member
28DL Member
History:
In the latter half of the 19th century, the railway network had expanded rapidly, connecting up towns and villages to London, enabling more people to still work within the capital, but move out into the countryside. With this, grew a demand on houses, and consequently, an even greater demand for building materials.
In the late 1880s, a brickwork company under the name of "C.N Kidd's" moved into Dartford, and set up two brick-earth pits which both sat under the western end of the town. These two mines were both connected via a small service tunnel, and were also used purely for extraction of chalk, which was then distributed to various brick production factories. As an area, Dartford was very convenient for businesses like this to set up, given it's close proximity to London.
The actual geology of the town, seeing as it was built upon chalk, made it an ideal place for this sort of work, as extraction was able to take place relatively close to the surface without having to create any deep boreholes.
Finally, after 6,000 tons of chalk being extracted, and over 400 meters worth of passaged having been dug, the mine ceased operation around 1912 and was later repurposed as a rubbish dump for the local brewery, leaving it's industrial past forgotten.
A few years later in 1920, the mine was repurposed once again, a large drain which was connected to the surface water sewers was fitted into the main access shaft of the mine, thus converting it into a huge storm relief soakaway, however, at the same time as the installation of the pipe, the council utilised one of the mine's caverns as a dump for local road sweepings, hence the pile of rubbish that can be seen in one of the chambers.
Lastly, in 1986, and only after a thorough inspection into the stability of the chalk, plus some additional reinforcements to the roof, a new housing estate was constructed above the mine. Leaving it disused, and it's once-vibrant industrial past, forgotten.


Layout Of The Mine

View attachment 871662
The Explore:
I'd visited this mine on several occasions late last year, but not once did I decide to bring my camera for some bizarre reason (probably as it's so local to me!). However, this time around I decided It was time to finally capture this local underground gem. So, on a rather damp, stormy, miserable September evening, myself and @Sprackles thought we'd take one last look at this spot.
Upon arriving, the rain was beginning to worsen, but with neither myself nor my mate having read up on its purpose as a storm relief, we didn't think the weather would affect us, and so we jumped straight into the access point and began to make our way down. The rain was trickling in so hard is this particular area that I didn't want to risk getting my DSLR soaked, so I managed to grab a phone shot of the way down.


Now, having climbed down the entirety of this uncomfortably slippery 60ft ladder, we entered the first section. I'd forgotten just how vast and cavernous this place actually was having not been in for over a year or more. It was considerably damper than previous times, which I found rather odd as there's a soakaway at the base of the ladder where the majority of the rainwater has disappeared into. Now, it was time to rattle off a few shots.

At this point, the rain was beginning to come down quite heavy on the surface, as the flow of water from the storm relief pipe was beginning to increase rapidly. However, despite our better judgment and the fact It was so local, I decided to continue further seeing as we were in, and if truth be told, we knew it was unlikely we'd be returning to this mine anytime soon given the hassle it takes to actually access this place in the right way.
We must've spent near to an hour down here by now, and that's when @Sprackles began to mention just how thin the air was. I'd heard from some good friends of mine that when they went they found it difficult to breathe in places due to the lack of ventilation. However, on the 2 occasions, I'd been before, I didn't share the same difficulty. Although, now with it having been brought to my attention, I did start to feel exceptionally short of breath, and so we decided to grab just a few more shots and make for an early exit.
And that was that! I must admit that these pictures weren't taken in chronological order, and the small tunnel that can be seen in the photo above was in fact our only way in and out. Worryingly, by the time we'd returned to the exit point, the water has started filling up at such a speed where had we of left it any longer, we would've been in for a swim up to surface.
Needless to say, our jeans stayed far from dry, and we'd learned the hard way about its purpose as a storm relief. All in all, another smashing night...


- Thanks For Looking -
We surveyed these passages in the late 80’s. At the far end of the network there is a fissure in the floor, i think about 20 feet long. We dangles a tape down the gap and it went at least 30 metres into the crack!
When the storm drain was active we made our way to the small rooms that the miners had dug. These were raised off the floor by a couple of feet. The theory being that the water would always escape down the fissure. It never flooded all the while this was clear.
We found frogs down there with no pigment, you could clearly see all their organs internally.
We also found war time helmets, coins and trinkets.
Fascinating project.
 

Urbex2p

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hay dude
Please can you contact me through Instagram @urbex.2p I’d really appreciate it but am not to used to this platform so would find insta much easier
1607859853324.png
 

LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
We surveyed these passages in the late 80’s. At the far end of the network there is a fissure in the floor, i think about 20 feet long. We dangles a tape down the gap and it went at least 30 metres into the crack!
When the storm drain was active we made our way to the small rooms that the miners had dug. These were raised off the floor by a couple of feet. The theory being that the water would always escape down the fissure. It never flooded all the while this was clear.
We found frogs down there with no pigment, you could clearly see all their organs internally.
We also found war time helmets, coins and trinkets.
Fascinating project.
Oh wow! Interesting stuff mate. Cheers for that info
 

TheReturningCynic

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
That was a brilliant read!

I love my research, but this place tested my patience massively. I remember spending a good week or two and largely finding very little other than (a) the 1980s survey which was brilliant, (b) an engineers report/diagram with details of where individual boreholes were drilled prior to development, and (c) the obligatory OS maps containing the original brickworks. Thames Water, the Environment Agency, Kent County Council, Dartford Borough Council...? Nada... and KCC even owned it pre-1980!

In the end I went down a very intimate little road that felt like it would be ripe with curtain twitching, felt incredibly out of place at the time, and when I saw what I think I was looking for... I noped out of there, not quite sure how the timing would work or which specific thing it would be. For that I take my hat off to you. :thumb

We surveyed these passages in the late 80’s. At the far end of the network there is a fissure in the floor, i think about 20 feet long. We dangles a tape down the gap and it went at least 30 metres into the crack!
When the storm drain was active we made our way to the small rooms that the miners had dug. These were raised off the floor by a couple of feet. The theory being that the water would always escape down the fissure. It never flooded all the while this was clear.
We found frogs down there with no pigment, you could clearly see all their organs internally.
We also found war time helmets, coins and trinkets.
Fascinating project.
That sounds absolutely fascinating; I'm guessing that survey was the one I mentioned above?

The fissure gets a very brief mention actually - "In the floor of one gallery to the south of the shaft wasa deep fissure in the floor into which much of the floodwater drained.". It's a real shame that the other things you mention were never recorded!
 

LashedLlama

Sauter Les Frontières
28DL Full Member
That was a brilliant read!

I love my research, but this place tested my patience massively. I remember spending a good week or two and largely finding very little other than (a) the 1980s survey which was brilliant, (b) an engineers report/diagram with details of where individual boreholes were drilled prior to development, and (c) the obligatory OS maps containing the original brickworks. Thames Water, the Environment Agency, Kent County Council, Dartford Borough Council...? Nada... and KCC even owned it pre-1980!

In the end I went down a very intimate little road that felt like it would be ripe with curtain twitching, felt incredibly out of place at the time, and when I saw what I think I was looking for... I noped out of there, not quite sure how the timing would work or which specific thing it would be. For that I take my hat off to you. :thumb



That sounds absolutely fascinating; I'm guessing that survey was the one I mentioned above?

The fissure gets a very brief mention actually - "In the floor of one gallery to the south of the shaft wasa deep fissure in the floor into which much of the floodwater drained.". It's a real shame that the other things you mention were never recorded!
Cheers man, glad you enjoyed :)
 

DaveFM

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Good to see this place, I'd heard of it long ago but believed it was no longer accessible due to all the changes that have gone on to the original site. Is the access not locked?

There was a reportedly huge chalk mine under the Plumstead area that caused serious subsidence problems in the 1950's, I think even killing one unfortunate council worker who slipped into a sinkhole so its surprising they allowed building over this place.
 
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