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Author Topic: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters  (Read 30440 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2017, 18:58:11 »
There are some interesting carvings in the chalk which the tour guide kindly points out to you.  I saw these tunnels many years ago when they were not open to the public so can appreciate the amount of work that has gone into making these available to the public.  This is well worth the visit!

Offline kyn

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2017, 18:56:31 »
Cliveh and I visited at the weekend, I was impressed with how much is available to view and impressed at the amount of information provided from the tour guide!

Offline doug

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2015, 18:50:47 »
Looks like a section of the track from Hereson road to Ramsgate seafront. This was a short section of tunnel built in the 1930s, to take tourists from Dumpton Station down to the seafront. The track was the same size as the mineral track later used on the new wartime tunnels.

Offline conan

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #51 on: January 25, 2015, 21:01:19 »
A cracking bit of film from 1940.It looks quite cosy :) although it probably wasn't in reality

Any body got ideas on the narrow gauge rail track,was it used for the conversion?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyIK91GF1es
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline cliveh

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #50 on: December 19, 2014, 10:24:57 »
The tunnels are now open to the public. Here's a few shots from my visit back in July:

cliveh

Offline kyn

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #49 on: October 01, 2013, 12:11:58 »
As much as I fully support groups coming together to help open, restore and care for historic places I do object to thieves who steal others information and then use it.  A simple link back to KHF would have been a considerate and kind thing to do.  But unfortunately groups like this one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/152934584743411/?fref=ts will gradually lose all support and respect as more people get annoyed at their behaviour. 

Offline Ron Stilwell

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #48 on: October 01, 2013, 12:06:22 »
As Kyn records, the first tunnel was opened by the H.R.H. Duke of Kent.  Here is Kempe's photograph of that occasion.
The text reads:
The Late Duke of Kent opened the deep air raid shelters eighty feet below ground.

Offline Ron Stilwell

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #47 on: October 01, 2013, 12:03:54 »
A picture of the start of the first tunnel.  The photograph is from 'Midst Bands and Bombs, by Kempe; 1946.  The accompanying text says:
"A.B.C." (Mayor Kempe) chips the first chalk.  Work on the deep tunnel starts - only four more miles to go.
I will post the section of text in the book about the tunnels as soon as possible.

Offline kyn

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #46 on: October 01, 2013, 10:19:12 »
October 1939

Tunnel Shelters at Ramsgate
Chalk Formation Provides Ideal Protection

The problem of providing completely bomb-proof underground protection for the general public during air-raids is an extremely difficult and complex matter.  The Ramsgate Corporation, however, because of special and purely local circumstances, and because, too, of the very favourable geological conditions existing in the town, have been able to put forward a scheme for deep tunnels which was approved in part by the Home Office.  The construction of these tunnels is now proceeding, the first section, carried out by direct labour, being opened by H.R.H. The Duke of Kent on June 1, 1939.
Several factors undoubtedly influenced the Home Office in their consideration of the Ramsgate Council's application for deep shelters, and probably primarily among these factors is the fact that Ramsgate already possesses several large caves and a disused railway tunnel, all situated on the sea front.  The caves, which were extensively used during the Great War, provide accommodation for about 5,000 persons, and the disused railway tunnel of the old South Eastern and Chatham Railway, which has come into the possession of the Council since the last war, gives accommodation for at least 10,000 persons.

Potential Danger

The Council thought, and the view was apparently held, too, by the Home Office, that these existing shelters would probably constitute a source of danger in the event of an outbreak of hostilities, inasmuch as the whole population of the town would probably, on hearing the air-raid warning, attempt to cross the town (a distance of about two miles) to try and obtain shelter in the caves and the old tunnel.  Under these circumstances, it was thought preferable that a new tunnel should be constructed around the town in order that persons generally would not have so far to go to obtain access to the deep shelter; and the scheme was formulated mainly because of this fact.
Furthermore, owing to the centre portion of Ramsgate being very densely built up, the provision of ordinary steel shelter and surface shelters is an extremely difficult and often quite impossible matter, and it was accepted that public shelters would have to be provided.
The tunnel scheme as evolved is actually an economical public shelter, and if the tunnel scheme had not been approved, some other form of public shelter would have to have been provided for a large proportion of the persons in the centre of the town.
One of the most important factors is, of course, the question of cost.  For reasons which will be given later, the tunnel scheme can be constructed at an extremely low cost and at a very rapid rate.  the cost of 2.55 miles of new tunnel is £49,700, or £19,520 per mile, which includes entrances.  The number of persons who can be accommodated in the new tunnel is estimated to be approximately 11,000; 15,000 can  be accommodated in the existing caves and the old railway tunnel, so that the total of 26,000 persons can be accommodated in the whole scheme.  It is estimated that the population of the area covered by the tunnel scheme, i.e. within a quarter of a mile of an entrance to the tunnel, is about 20,000.  It is unlikely that the whole of this population would seek admission to the tunnel, and the capacity is proposed therefore more than sufficient.
The problems of entrances was given particular consideration by the Home Office, and it may be found necessary to increase the number of entrances.  It is felt that the success of the scheme must depend purely on the adequacy of the entrances and proper organisation for the control of the entrances must be regarded as essential.

Unique Conditions

The scheme as put forward to the Home Office included, a further 2,260 yds. of tunnel which was proposed for the use of persons in the more outlying districts and housing estates of the council.  This additional length, however, was not approved by the Home Office, who pointed out that in their opinion, the provision of steel shelters would prove more satisfactory for these areas of the town, where the population is less dense and where, too, tunnels could not be constructed without mechanical ventilation and other technical difficulties.
Generally, it may be stated that the scheme has been designed purely having regard to the special circumstances while it is understood that it was approved by the Home Office solely because of such circumstances.  Unless similar conditions existed elsewhere, it would not be possible to put up a comparable scheme and Ramsgate must regard herself as being fortunate in have the essential qualifications for an economical and adequate shelter.
Ramsgate, in common with most of Thanet, is situate on a formation of upper chalk having a thickness of about 280 ft.  This chalk is solid and homogeneous, and lends itself readily to the construction of tunnels at a very low cost without the use of struts or supports.  In addition, the altitudes in Ramsgate assist materially, as, except for a small area in the centre of town, 60 ft. of cover can be obtained above all the tunnels while, at the same time, the tunnels themselves are above the water bearing strata.
The general lay-out of the scheme provides that the main tunnel forms roughly a semi-circle around the densely built-up area in the centre of the town, with a spur of leg running from the centre of the circle only being closed in the event of a gas bomb falling near that particular entrance, the doors on the other entrances remaining open until their immediate surrounding district is similarly contained.  It can thus be seen that if gas bombs drop in one area of the town, fresh air can still be drawn in from the remaining area not contaminated, and owing to the extent of the scheme, it is extremely unlikely that all entrances will be contaminated at any one time.
Lavatory accommodation will be in the form of recesses cut into the chalk, which will be spaced and staggered at intervals of 75 ft. throughout the main tunnel, female one side and make the other.

Sanitary Accommodation

Each recess will contain two chemical closets and each closet will have a capacity for 30 persons.  The recesses will be fitted with corrugated asbestos cement partitions and doors, as these will facilitate easy cleaning.
In order to make provision for persons who may require some medical attention, first-aid posts will be provided at approximately 1,000 ft. intervals throughout the tunnel.
The size of the rooms is 15 ft. by 12 ft., and they will be lined with asbestos sheeting.  The roof is a segmented concrete arch opening into the main tunnel for ventilation purposes.  There are 18 first-aid posts.  Each first-aid post will be partitioned into sections, and will be fitted with sink, hot and cold water, and rest couches.  It is anticipated that these rooms will be staffed by trained nurses with one or two doctors in attendance.
In all cases, these posts have been sited as near to the main entrances as possible.
The lighting of the tunnel and entrances will be independent of any main supplies.  For this purpose, the main tunnel is divided into four separate sections and each section will be controlled by a small generating plant and battery set, housed in specially constructed battery rooms.
The lighting itself will consist of 40-watt bulbs placed at 25 ft. centres, and in view of the reflection obtained from the chalk, this gives an illuminating that is considered quite satisfactory.
The generators will produce a low-volt current floating across the battery set.  The batteries will provide a 10-hour output in the case of an emergency breakdown of the generator.

Battery Room

Each battery room, which is 8 ft. by 12 ft., is sited near a ventilation shaft, and the exhaust will be carried up the shaft to street level.  The generators will be run on diesel oil or petrol, and will be screened from the main tunnel and ventilated to ensure no inconvenience to the public using the shelter.
Invalid chairs are carriages from the hospital have received special consideration.  The hospital "spur" which has been designed as a separate of the tunnel, is 8 ft. wide and 8 ft. high.  It is constructed in an easy ramp, the floor being concreted for the entire length.  This facilitates ingress and egress of invalids and staff.
This spur has its own first-aid room and lavatory recesses, and the invalid chairs will remain in this length to obviate any congestion that might occur in the main tunnel.
The entrance itself is sited in the hospital grounds adjoining the main entrance.
The policing and control of the tunnels is being met by a specially trained A.R.P. unit of wardens.  These men, of whom there are 200, will be trained to control and shepherd the crowds in and out of the tunnels, to render any aid and to give any advice required.
Each householder will be provided with a description of the nearest entrance available and the quickest route to follow.  This will be necessary to prevent persons unnecessarily going to the wrong entrances.
Since the tunnel was not designed to allow crossing or passing, persons will all be made to go in one direction when they enter the main tunnels and take up a seat.  In this manner, it will be possible to get the public to file along the tunnel without panic, with consequent crush and injury.

Offline wevsky

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2012, 19:06:30 »
I am trying to trace the route of the sewage pipe which runs from the Harbour to the Newington housing estate.

It is known to go as far as Cannon rd and up towards the Ellington Park entrances. As the pipe takes up a great deal of the old air-raid tunnel, I have been in that section but did not venture very far up the pipe.

I would like to find out if it in fact does run the full length of that part of the system as I have a feeling that it vears off across the park towards St.Lawrence.

It uses most of the ellington road section and then dissapears under the ground as the gradient of the tunnel and the sewer pipe are different i think ..if you join ramsgate tunnels . org they have 2 pictures from inside the ellington section ..i can quote the text included with the pictures

1950
In 1947 Ramsgate Borough Council started planning to reuse the Tunnel section from Ellington Road to the Harbour as the route for the Newington Trunk Sewer. The pipe is still in use today and blocks most of the Ellington Road section.
The new sewer tunnel follows the line of ARP Tunnel but slowly disappears beneath as it has a steeper gradient than the ARP Tunnel.

the picture show a section or rcp being lowered into place some narrow rail tracks for carts and a section of the tunnel...



All i can say is it runs to newington what route it takes im unsure as even tho from inside the westcliff section u can see the pipe and walk on top of it and from cannon road can squeeze away along it to a small room or two  tracing it further isnt gunna be easy!!hope this helps
Wevsky

AnDy

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #44 on: April 25, 2012, 19:01:02 »
I am trying to trace the route of the sewage pipe which runs from the Harbour to the Newington housing estate.

It is known to go as far as Cannon rd and up towards the Ellington Park entrances. As the pipe takes up a great deal of the old air-raid tunnel, I have been in that section but did not venture very far up the pipe.

I would like to find out if it in fact does run the full length of that part of the system as I have a feeling that it vears off across the park towards St.Lawrence.

Offline kyn

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #43 on: April 03, 2012, 12:17:02 »
Hellís Corner 1940 by H.R.P. Boorman.

A large number of bombs were dropped on the town and Manston Aerodrome.  Fortunately, few lives were lost, for Ramsgate had spent £60,000 on a wise precaution.  Her drainage was getting old, and so through the chalk cliffs she cut all over town 3 Ĺ miles of passages which, during the war, could be used as air raid shelters, but which were driven in correct gradients to be used for a new drainage system if necessary when the war is over.  Here about 60,000 people sought shelter, safe some 70 feet below the ground.





AnDy

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2011, 01:14:37 »
Above the top of the stack is a very well constucted opening in the main tunnel brickwork with 4 lintels in place and a roughly 400mm diameter duct leading off and there is what looks like some sort of area for burning materials 'possibly' as the ducting looks to be the exhaust. Still puzzled!!

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #41 on: June 03, 2011, 22:26:27 »
Over 900 people were living in this tunnel in 1940 and were using oil burning stoves for cooking etc. This was mainly in the area where the chimney is. Ramsgate Borough Council made a request to the Home Office for permission to construct another entrance, partly to ease the pollution problem, but was turned down on cost grounds. Additional ventilation was suggested instead and this structure may have been connected with that or canteen facilities which were also proposed. A survey in 1997 highlights some anomolies which require further investigation when we can get access.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Ramsgate Tunnels - Air Raid Shelters
« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2011, 20:44:55 »
Again I can assure you that this edifice was not there when the tunnel was built, there is not enough room to get a loco passed either side. That is most definatly post 1926, possibly wartime but I know not. More great pics of the junction thanks. Sentinel S4.
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