Thursday, 8 September 2011

Crouchers caves & Courts Wine Vaults 2011

Croucher's Tunnels, Dover

These tunnels are known as 'Croucher's Tunnels' after the Croucher & Co Shipwrights, who operated from premises in front of the tunnels in the 1960s & 70s, and used the tunnels as a store. Prior to this they seem to have been known as 'Bushell's Caves', presumably after Bushell & Co. who previously occupied the site. The tunnels themselves form the centre section of a series of tunnels in Dover's Snargate Street. The three sets of tunnels from West to East are the Court's Wine Vaults (Barwicks Caves), Croucher's Tunnels and Soldiers' Home Caves. They were all linked during WW2 to create a large Air Raid Shelter, but since the war have reverted to different private ownerships. This section takes the form of three parallel tunnels dug into the cliff at an angle, which are interconnected at the far end. They are still used to this day as a storage area.

Courts' Wine Vaults, Dover

These tunnels were excavated by Dover wine merchant Stephen Court at the beginning of the 19th Century. They were dug into cliffs at the rear of the Courts' premises in Snargate Street, and along with terraced gardens and a folly shaped like Dover Castle on the cliff face, were a tourist attraction in their day. Wines were even made from the grapes and exotic fruits growing on the cliff terraces, and were stored in the vaults below. The tunnels are lined throughout and have alcoves in the walls, which presumably held the racks for wine bottles. The Courts' premises was demolished during or just before the Second World War, and the tunnels were linked to others further along the street to form a large air raid shelter (graffiti still remains in the tunnels from this time). After the war local building firm R.J Barwick moved onto the site and the caves have been known as 'Barwick's Caves' ever since.

 Was a very unexpected visit and unfortunant that due to other peoples actions it is now sealed tight

For images from Soldiers home caves see this entry

Soldiers home caves

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