Thursday, 24 January 2013

Oil Mills West and Upper, Dover - January 2013

So here are Parts 2 and 3 of my Saturday adventure in Dover. After an initial bit of confusion over where we were parking we made it there eventually, and watched as Tristian whipped his magic out, and just like that, we were in. 

Explored with Tristian, Will (cheers guys), and Laura.

Some history on Oil Mills West from Dover Underground:
Situated behind Hammond's offices and petrol station in Dover are large numbers of tunnels that form what are known as the 'Oil Mill Caves'. These places have seen various uses over the years, including use as shelters during both world wars. Today some are still in use for storage while others have been abandoned.

This particular section (which is not linked to the other parts of the 'Oil Mills') appears to date from the early to mid nineteenth century and contains large, almost cavernous tunnels reinforced with brick. There is evidence of some parts originally having a second floor. Modern Halogen lighting has been installed although all the bulbs have burned out - the relay for the lighting still energises when the main lightswitch is operated.

West consisted of several large passages and chambers, almost gothic in appearance. The main chamber (shown in my first photo) is terrifyingly tall, possibly the grandest room that I've been in since I've been doing this. 

I borrowed Tristian's tripod again, but it didn't like me as much this time, blurring some of the photos. When I tried to use my remote, it didn't work, so unfortunately a lot of my shots didn't come out to the standard I'm happy with. Always next time though. 

The shot above is so well lit because Tristian and I were comparing torches, with me wondering why my P7 wasn't that bright...

After one more shot of the room where we entered, it was time to move on to Oil Mills Upper. Now, I don't want to give much away about our means of entry/exit, but Will was left a bit embarrassed, but fair play to him, sorted it out. After moving the cars, changing my P7's batteries, and some sneaking behind a petrol station we were in Oil Mills Upper. 

As you can see the new batteries did make a difference.

Some history on Upper:
This particular tunnel is a large horseshoe shaped tunnel that is located on a terrace part way up the cliff. Between the two entrances is a further entrance that takes you down to the lower section of tunnels.

This side wasn't quite as impressive as the West, although wasn't without its charms. Quite a lot of explorer graffiti in there (mainly 'SILVERAINBOW') but some original etchings too, such as one that I didn't get that Will chalked over from World War 2 (we did rub it off when we saw). The looseness on the tripod was still an issue, so shots were again blurred unless I was lucky. 

The above photo is my favourite from the whole day, a happy accident. 

Insert filthy joke there. 

Whilst shooting the above Laura spotted some original graffiti, which hopefully you can just about make out as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Popeye, below.

And with that we were pretty much done. We didn't bother with the Lower Oil Mills, and I forgot to get a few shots of the blast walls towards the entrance. After an easier-than-it looked exit we headed back to the cars, and parted ways.

Thanks for reading. 


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