Fan Bay Dig

FAN BAY PROGRESS Jon Barker updates

September 11th 2014: “We have had some fairly good news about the planning for Fan Bay. It was granted yesterday but it has had many extra restrictions placed on it before work can actually begin. Essentially we need to do some robust work around the management and recording of archaeology, explore the environmental impact further and go into more detail around how we will physically do the work. A further restriction is that work must take place in the reptile active season which will draw to an end in October.  On a brighter note we had another successful day yesterday and the generator building was fully cleared. Inside we discovered the staircase was intact, a second room and one of the air handling units still in place.”
October 3rd: “I had a visit this week from Simon Pryor who is our Head of Conservation and second only to the Director General of The National Trust…he was absolutely bowled over but what he saw and he wanted me to pass on his personal thanks and admiration to you all for what has been achieved.  So on the eve of the next phase of works. I wanted to pass on this great feedback and for you all to know that your contribution is not only valued but is being noticed by some of the most senior managers we have. It goes to show just what can be done by volunteers and it will have positive repercussion for many of the other ‘hidden’ heritage assets The National Trust has. Thank you!
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October 17th 2014
Slowly but surely the 1917 mirror is starting to emerge at Fan Bay. It looks to be in fantastic condition and all the damage is historical and matches with old photographs we have.
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October 30th 2014
Works finished at Fan Bay today and that the mirrors have been fully uncovered and the bank landscaped. Both mirrors are in fantastic condition
and they look glorious!!
November 13th 2014
I have been liaising with the planners and mine engineers about our next steps. We have been advised to carry out some structural stabilization works to the banks around the mirrors so we have been researching methods and quotes of how to do this.  I believe we are going to have to apply for three sets of further planning permissions before May next year and most of the surface works will need planning before we can continue.
November 24th 2014
We had a visit to Fan Bay yesterday from one of our senior managers. Nick is an area manager of the Trust and although he no longer looks after this region he still remains very interested in our work. When Nick did look after this area (back in 2012), he was key in the discussions to purchase the land on which Fan Bay is located. At the time the tunnel project wasn’t part of our plans so he was particularly interested to discover that we had now undertaken such a major and unusual project.  Needless to say he was amazed by what he saw. He couldn’t believe the scale of the project and what had been achieved by volunteers. When he arrived on site, he couldn’t believe how many of you there were and the range of jobs you were doing, especially in the mucky weather! Nick is also heading up a study for our head  office on different approaches to volunteering, he was therefore very interested  to  know  that  we  had  been  jointly collaborating with other organisations  such  as, KURG, WCMS and DAG. He was also bowled over by the expertise, enthusiasm and skills you have all brought to the project. It just goes to show what can be achieved with volunteers – thank you.  I just wanted to pass on a message that he sent though afterwards about his visit.  The work that we are undertaking in Fan Bay has much wider ramifications for the Trust.  It shows the interest and passion in wartime heritage, as well as the scale of work which can be undertaken if you have a dedicated and knowledgeable group of volunteers helping.
December 1st 2014
We hope to open the shelter to the public in May 2015. We plan to open the tunnels Fridays – Mondays and full time during the school holidays. We estimate we need to recruit around   50 – 70 volunteer guides to do this. If there is    anyone  who  has  been  involved  with the project so far who would be interested  in  staying  on after May, would you be able to let me know? It would be very useful to know numbers to help inform our recruitment plan for new volunteers.   We are also planning on having a meeting on 21st January 10am at South Foreland Lighthouse for all those who are interested, if you would like to come along, can you email me and let me know?”  Send enquiries via – Ed.

Below is a link to the Fan Bay Blog which has been set up. We will also have pages about Fan Bay going live on the main NT White Cliffs website over the next few weeks.


As the stairs have now been cleared and access to the shelter is much safer we have planned in a prospective volunteer day at South Foreland lighthouse on Wednesday 11th December at 10am, also we have just had a detailed Graffiti survey conducted by MJC Heritage. They are the UK”s leading graffiti archaeologists and they have uncovered some fantastic stuff. We have some socialist graffiti, ”Russia Bleeds while Britain feeds”, the finish dates and names of the tunnelers who built it.

We even found a 1940s book on top of the ducting where a soldier had left it. It seems to be a gentlemans interest magazine, no wonder he wanted to keep it in a discreet place. When I get the full report through I will put up some pictures. Its amazing how many new things we keep discovering each time we study the tunnels.


More Info: Fan Bay News Website