Monday, 11 June 2012

Archcliffe Galleries, Western Heights, Dover, June 2012

After four weeks since our last visit (see here), Giacomo and I finally made our way back down to Western Heights at Dover. St Martin's Deep Shelter was our priority having been shown the bent down gate last time. I uttered something along the lines of 'wouldn't it be funny if it's been sealed in the last four weeks' as we made our way over. Guess what was sealed up? 

Not to be deterred, we made our way to our other location just over the road, which we actually knew very little about. My subsequent research has informed me that it was in fact the Archcliffe Galleries, making up part of what used to be the Archcliffe Gate.

The gate in 1959

Little bit of history nicked from Underground Kent: 'The road “improvements” that took place in the 1960’s meant the demolition of Archcliffe Gate and the surrounding ditch to be filled in. Fortunately the galleries that were inside the gateway were left untouched, as were some of the surrounding walls. These walls would have housed defensive features such as gunrooms and the necessary means of ventilation to allow smoke created by the guns to escape. Close to the galleries and guardroom are the rooms that were used as cells.'

The entrance to what remained of the galleries was wet, muddy, and downhill. Fun fun fun! Once inside the floor was pretty sketchy, and the shit quality of torch that we had with us didn't entirely help matters. 

Trying to sort the camera out with very little light proved difficult, and was compounded by the tripod falling apart in my hands when I got it out of its bag. Therefore it took a little while to find a correct focus, and I had to use flash on all of my shots, which I wasn't best pleased about.

The floor was littered with loads of stuff like this, the first couple of galleries especially. There were a couple of large metal... things, but because I'm well clever I didn't get a photo of them! 

There were lots of pipes running around the place. Didn't appear to be doing anything, although at one point we noticed a constant rumbling, which I assumed to be the trains that sort of go below to Dover Priory, but then wasn't so sure when it was so constant. 

Giacomo climbed over a large wall at the end of this corridor, which had nothing the other side. Lovely stuff. 

This sort of marked the end of our explore. We thought that the place would be a bit bigger I suppose, but it wasn't too bad looking back. Afterwards we fixed the tripod, in case you were worried. Very easy to do a revisit to get some better shots. 

If only St Martin's was open as well...

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