Time & Location
About The Event
Short jaunt into Kent then to Chislehurst
Meet At 9:45
£6 Entrance fee
Today the caves are a tourist attraction and although they are called caves, they are entirely man-made and were dug and used as chalk and flint mines. The earliest recorded mention of the mines dates from around 1250AD and they are believed to have been last worked in the 1830s.
During World War I the caves were used as an ammunition storage dump associated with the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. In the 1930s the tunnels were used for mushroom cultivation.
Second World War shelter
When the aerial bombardment of London began in September 1940, the caves were used as an air raid shelter. Soon they became an underground city rising to some 15,000 inhabitants (who each paid a penny to enter). The tunnels were fitted with electric lighting, toilets, washing facilities, a chapel was built and also a hospital. The caves were located close to Chislehurst railway station and many people arrived there to then enter the shelter. Shortly after VE Day the shelter was officially closed. There has been only one child born in the caves, christened in the cave chapel with the unfortunate name of Cavena Wakeman, who endured the name until she turned 18, when she legally changed her first name to Rose and using Cavena as her middle name.