Entrance to Chislehurst Caves; 2009
3 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 21cm

Entrance to Chislehurst Caves; 2009

John Chase

© Museum of London

Full image caption

Chislehurst Caves are a 22 miles (35 km) long series of tunnels in Chislehurst. Although called caves, they are entirely man-made mines for chalk and flint.
The earliest mention of the mines is circa 1250 and they are last believed to have been worked in the 1830s. During the early 1900s the caves were a popular tourist attraction. In World War I they were used as an ammunition depot associated with the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. During the 1930s they were used for mushroom cultivation.
During World War II, in September 1940, the aerial bombardment of London began, and the caves were used as an air raid shelter. Within a short time, it became an underground city of some 15,000 inhabitants with electric lighting, a chapel and a hospital. Shortly after VE Day the shelter was officially closed. Only one baby, christened Rose Cavena Wakeman, was born in the caves.

In the 1960s, the caves were used as a music venue. David Bowie, Status Quo, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd all performed there.




2009 AD - 2009 AD

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