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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
25th May 1905 Born today: Binnie Barnes, London, actress (Adv of Marco Polo, Diamond Jim)
25th May 1878 Gilbert/Sullivans opera HMS Pinafore, premieres in London
Vast cave complex used as air raid shelters and film locations.
Location: The Chalk Pit, Old Hill, Chislehurst
Description: Chislehurst Caves are a labyrinth of dark mysterious passageways which have been hewn by hand from the chalk, deep beneath Chislehurst. There are over 20 miles of caverns and passageways, dug over a period of 8000 years. The vast complex of caves are a maze of ancient mines originally carved out in the search for flint and chalk.
During the 1914 World War the mines became part of Woolwich Arsenal, used as an ammunitions depot. A narrow gauge railway was installed to aid the transport through the passages. Up until the outbreak of the Second World War the mines were used by the Kent Mushroom Company.
The war and the constant bombings over London turned the caves into a massive air raid shelter within easy reach from London and its main suburbs.
The caves again became a major tourist attraction early this century.
The Caves are also used as a film location and have been used by the BBC and independent film companies. Doctor Who, Insemenoid, Bliss, Neverwhere and Randall & Hopkirk (deceased) have all been filmed at the caves.
The Caves feature nine druids altars and many think could be the site of Merlin's secret lodge.
Tagged in this Tour: The Doctor Whoish tour of London