Asda Dig Ramsgate

The Kent Underground Research Group was invited to examine the tunnels, and a site visit and survey made on 13th January 2012 showed the structure to be a World War 1 air-raid shelter. Access to the tunnels was by means of a small hole in made up ground in the north west of the building site.

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Any original steps leading down to the tunnel were covered with loose fill and debris. At the bottom of the steps the tunnel turned right to run approximately parallel with the retaining boundary wall. This passage led to a roughly circular tunnel with a blocked entrance, also with a sloping door frame.

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The 50m of passages surveyed were of roughly rectangular cross section and between 1.7 and 1.9m high and 0.7 to 0.9m wide. This profile has been found to be fairly common in air-raid shelters dug during the First World War in Thanet.</p>\r\n<p>At four points in the system, seating had been provided by means of benches cut into the side of the tunnels.

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The many distinctive tool marks observed show that the tunnels had been excavated by means of a mechanical pick.</p>\r\n<p>The circular passage had been dug from two directions and a miscalculation caused a slight miss-alignment in both direction and height. The tunnel that was dug anti-clockwise from the blocked entrance was 1.5m lower than the clockwise one which resulted in a short joining link with three steps. The chalk steps showed little sign of wear which would suggest that the shelter was not heavily used. Lighting appeared to be by simple candles or oil lamps hanging from iron rods inserted in the walls. A number of candle niches were found, some still retaining short stubs of candle.

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