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Author Topic: Noah's Ark tunnel shelter, Dover  (Read 1558 times)
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John
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« on: August 16, 2013, 18:37:44 PM »

Behind a sealed entrance in Noah's Ark Rd, a set of steps lead in to an air raid tunnel which then slopes gently downwards towards Coombe Valley. The tunnel would have been able to accommodate approximately 850 people at a depth below ground level that varied from 30' near the entrances to around 100' under the highest point of the hillside. The Coombe Valley entrance to the tunnel was, when I last visited quite a few years ago, situated at the rear of R J Barwick & Co. and was kept securely locked. Mr. Richard Barwick kindly granted me access at the time - the first stretch of this end of the tunnel was well lit by overhead strip lighting and was used for storing various bits and pieces. I've no idea who occupies that site these days, maybe a local contributor knows more?

The tunnel was originally constructed prior to WWII as a heading for a water main, but with the onset of war the height and width of the heading was enlarged and the 8" water main covered by a concrete floor. Access to the main was kept via manhole covers at frequent intervals. Electricity was supplied, fresh water was available via connections to the main, and sewerage points were also constructed.

Lined with concrete throughout, the tunnel is 6' wide and 7' to the crown of the arched roof, and it falls from the Noah's Ark Rd end at a gradient of 1 in 20. Blast walls were constructed at intervals throughout. More statistics? The Borough of Dover Air Raid Precautions proposal for this site, dated 20th February 1939, give a total length of 379 yards, effective length 318 yards and the estimated construction costs were £7960. A further tunnel was suggested linking this one to Edred Rd which would have sheltered a further 1275 people for only a few pennies more (well, another £8560 actually) but it was never built.

During the 1950's the Coombe Valley end of the tunnel lost approximately 150' of its length when the embankment was cut away to make room for a new gas holder. The site was earmarked by the Home Office for re-use as a shelter in the event of war with the Soviet Union.

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Noah's Ark - Proposed Shelter.JPG
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John
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 07:54:24 AM »

The original proposal for the tunnel shelter..

Dover Express - Friday 05 May 1939

Details of Tunnel No. I.

From below Isolation Hospital, Noah's Ark Road, to Corporation Depot, Union Road.

Overall length, according to plan—380 yards.

Effective length, with minimum cover of 25 feet—320 yards.

Capacity of population covered—1,140.

Capacity in chalk tons to be removed at 5 tons per yard—1,900 tons, requiring a refuse tip to take 28,500 cubic ft. of chalk.

Cost of steel "rings" to line tunnel, at one ring per yard, costing 20s. each—£380.

Cost of backing boards to line tunnel, 160 ft. per yard of tunnel of 4in. by 1in. timber at 2d. per foot—£l 6s 8d. per yard, or £506 12s. 4d. for whole tunnel.

Cost of "punch props" between "rings" at 1s. each, and. five per "ring" —£95.

Wages cost, at £2 2s. per yard—£798.

Cost of cartage from tunnel mouth to dump at 10s. per ton—£950.

Cost of seating in tunnel 2,280 ft. of 11ins. by 1in. boards, at 3d. per foot-£28 10s.

380 special clamps for seating, at 2s. each— £38.

Sanitation.—Four lavatories of 6ft. high, 3ft. wide, and 10ft. deep — Excavation cost, four at 32s. each, £6 8s.; boxes, four, at 10s. each, £2; four pails, at 3s. each, 12s.; total for sanitation, £9.

Total cost of tunnel, therefore, is—£2,805 3s. 4d; or a total cost per head of £2 9s. 2d. Cost per yard of—£7 7s. 6d.
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2013, 08:01:06 AM »

Dover Express - Friday 10 January 1941

Councillor Brewer said that he was thinking about the tunnel just completed, which ran from Noah's Ark Road to Union Road. In the past, that had been made quite a lot of use of when under construction, and now it was completed it would be made more use of. The Mayor said that it was not quite finished. Councillor Brewer said that it was pretty nearly finished. It would ease the Winchelsea Tunnel a lot. Now it was complete it seemed that the floor was to be torn up for the pipes to be put down. Was there any possibility of preventing that? The Surveyor: It must go on, it's for drainage and water. Councillor Brewer asked that it be done with all speed. The Mayor said that the contractors were very good, and would get on with it as quickly as possible.
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2013, 08:04:11 AM »

Dover Express - Friday 18 April 1941

Councillor Brazier said that he noticed there were no means of access to the shelter at Union Road and Noah's Ark Road after the Corporation men had finished. The yard was locked up. The Mayor said that he had been through there that morning, and meant to mention it to the Surveyor. The people from the Tower Hamlets end went in an emergency. The contractors were still working there, but would be finished in about a fortnight's time. Councillor Brazier said that in the case of a sudden blitz the shelter should be made available at night time. The Mayor said that if necessary the people could get over the fence. Councillor Brazier said that it was a high fence to climb. There was nothing there for anyone to take away.
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cliveh
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2015, 08:20:57 AM »

A few shots from a visit yesterday evening:

cliveh

There are 6 attachment(s) in this post which you cannot view or download
IMG_6436 Dover - Noah's Ark Air Raid Shelter Tunnel.jpg
IMG_6442 Dover - Noah's Ark Air Raid Shelter Tunnel.jpg
IMG_6453 Dover - Noah's Ark Air Raid Shelter Tunnel.jpg
IMG_6461 Dover - Noah's Ark Air Raid Shelter Tunnel.jpg
IMG_6471 Dover - Noah's Ark Air Raid Shelter Tunnel.jpg
IMG_6513 Dover - Noah's Ark Air Raid Shelter Tunnel.jpg
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 08:38:44 AM »

I like the wartime graffiti - shame about the modern stuff. How bad is it in there these days? I heard the place had been quite badly vandalised a couple of years ago.
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 08:51:59 AM »

Its not too bad John. There is some modern graf down the Barwick's end of the tunnel but no real damage to the structure of the place that I could see.

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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2017, 17:58:58 PM »

Dover Express - Friday 23 May 1941

To Be Opened.
Councillor Brazier said that about a month ago he raised the question of access to the shelter from Union Road to Noah's Ark Road. During the last shelling some people took the advice to get over the fence, but then found they could not get into the shelter.

The Mayor: What is there for anyone to take? - only bits of rails and granite chippings.

The Surveyor: There is a key the Warden's post.

The Mayor: Why not put barbed wire right up the Corporation yard, with a temporary gate, and leave the passage way to the shelter open? There is nothing anyone will run away with.

The Surveyor: There is; but if the Corporation want it left open, I will.

Councillor Martin: We have gone to the expense of the tunnel, and the job is finished. It is there to protect people, why keep them out?

The Mayor's suggestion was adopted.
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