On a rainy day in Ramsgate, 6 residents and 2 members of staff made the trip to the Ramsgate Tunnels. These tunnels were originally opened in 1863 but came in to use during the Second World War as shelter for up to 60,000 residents, during the Blitz.
We were shown an interesting film showing the devastation caused to Ramsgate on August 24th 1940 when 500 bombs were dropped in one day. As a result of this some families stayed in the tunnels for the next 4 years, never coming up to the surface.
A guide took us through several miles of the tunnels and showed us the toilets, bunks and names etched on the wall through the years.
Famous visitors include Winston Churchill, who was visiting the area when the sirens sounded for a raid. He was initially refused entry due to him smoking a large cigar, which he reluctantly relinquished. Several local workman then split the cigar and swapped it for drinks in the local pub!!!
Visited Ramsgate tunnels today and what an interesting hour and a half! A very interesting tour around the tunnels used in WW2 as a place of safety for Ramsgate residents. Having been born so long after the war I do not have first hand experience, only what I have heard or read to go on, but to actually see what the tunnels were like and how people lived was so exciting for me. The guide, Mick, was interesting, knowledgeable and friendly, including the younger visitors as much as he could. To hear how the designer and the mayor had to fight for permission and funding for the tunnels to be excavated, and then the lives they saved because of their determination was quite overwhelming. An extremely interesting visit which I highly recommend. It’s rather cool and damp so wear warmish clothes and sensible footwear. Well worth the entrance fees – very reasonable.
~ x ~