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Coulsdon Deep Shelter - August 2013

Plan

This large public air raid shelter is one of four which were proposed and built by Surrey Council at the beginning of WW2, the others being at Epsom Downs, Ashley Road in Epsom and Kenley. The plan was to build 3 parallel longitudinal tunnels into the chalk hillside with 4 parallel lateral tunnels linking them. The plan was never fully carried out with two of the longitudinal tunnels stopping in a sheer white face of chalk. After the war the shelter was mothballed and lay empty until a firm that made precision lenses for telescopes took them over. The constant temperature was ideal for the processes involved and the long tunnels perfect for testing the focus of the lenses. Sadly the dampness and coldness was not conducive for the electrical sockets and precision machinery so the ever-inventive workers reverse wired a fridge so it would act as a dehumidifier and keep the condensation levels down. Eventually the optical firm moved out and was replaced by a motor vehicle repair workshop. After some time they also moved out and the shelter was mothballed and sealed shut again.

I'd wanted to visit this place for quite some time so when the opportunity arose and we were in the area we decided to have a look in. It contains the strangest collection of things I've ever seen in a small underground tunnel. Bikes, lawnmowers, engine parts etc.

Tunnel with detritus More Tunnel Bits of bike Lawnmower Optical Machinery More Randomness Light Graffiti Storage