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New publication: Northfleet's Forgotten Tunnels

Submitted by Jay Curtis on 24 July 2023

Victor Smith's latest publication Northfleet's Forgotten Tunnels details the air raid shelters at the WT Henley site.


[From the introduction:] Formed of tunnels in the chalk, some 55 ft below Fountain Walk at Northfleet in Kent, is a large Second World War industrial air-raid shelter complex. It was created as a refuge for 2,500 employees of the W. T. Henley Telegraph Works and its associated companies. The need for physical protection reflected the increasingly destructive and existential threat of aerial bombing and of a national imperative to safeguard skilled industrial workers – and at some places elsewhere, factory plant as well.


The survival of this complex evokes a memory of the determination of government, industry and people to survive the onslaught of the German air campaign and to win the war. The shelter incorporated the latest thinking in design and protective measures. This wartime underground heritage is of at least regional heritage importance and might be considered for statutory protection.


Digital copy free to download (open PDF). Printed copies can be obtained from Gravesend Historical Society, contact Sandra Soder.