Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Rank Hovis Mill Air Raid Shelter, Ramsgate - August 2012

Well, it would have been rude not to...

Looking up the first flight of stairs to the entrance.

History from Thanet Underground:
"The Ramsgate Flour Mill was built in 1865, and closed in 2005 when the site was sold by Rank Hovis to a private developer, as it was no longer commercially viable. It is situated next to the site of the old Ramsgate Town Station, which has long been demolished and is now a block of flats (Chatham Court).

The mill survived two world wars, but sustained heavy bombing during World War 2. As the threat of war came nearer, air raid tunnels were dug. One “for the men” was dug under the old railway cattle pens (to the rear of the site), which gave the shelter about 25 feet of chalk and concrete as protection.
For the office workers, a separate shelter was constructed, which was a brick lined tunnel dug from the general office down into the ground. Under the mill, this was made wider to give a fair size room. A way out was up two long flights of concrete steps into the Margate Road.
The shelter was provided with a bucket toilet, gas curtains either end, lighting and heating. When “Hudsons look-out” gave the alarm, the office staff would pick up their ledgers and file down the stairs and carry on working in their underground office. During the war, the mill was very lucky. A lot of damage was done for nine bombs fell on the mill site, with only one failing to go off.
The street entrance to the air raid shelter was bricked up after the war, and the entrance from beneath the office was also sealed up. Apart from a brief inspection in 1984, the tunnel has been blocked up ever since."

Whilst on mooching around the mill, Stealth was keeping his eyes peeled for any possible clue as to the whereabouts of the 'Men's' air raid shelter. Unfortunately we didn't find much, but the location of the office workers' shelter was known, and in broad daylight, by a main road, Stealth had the cover off in a flash, and we were down. 

 This was the main room, down two flights of stairs. 

 At the end of the corridor above is where the toilet used to be located. At the top you can see the old curtain rail for privacy. 

 One flight of stairs of the three.

 This is the sealed exit that would have led to the office building at the mill. 

One more, slightly out of focus shot, of the main room, facing the office exit. 

That's your lot! It surprised me initially how extensive the bunker seemed to be, but actually it's quite small, hence the limited amount of photos. 

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