Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Oh oooer - too much underground in Charlton

The current issue of Subterranea (Sept 2013 contains an item on underground items in Charlton  - some of it a bit alarming. 

The item is headed '
Concern about a probable chalk mine under a railway tunnel at Charlton, southeast London " and relates to an enquiry from Network Rail concerning cavities encountered on the North Kent railway line.  They say "the tunnel had been driven between 1847 and 1849 by John Brogden (junior) [1823-1867]. This line was opened to Charlton Station on 30 July 1849, but the next section tWoolwich Dockyard Station (opened 1 November the same year) was evidently slightly delayed by the tunnelling and the unexpected cavity".

They then quote from the contempary Kentish Mercury " ......the workmen on the North Kent line ....tunnelling under the hanging woods, at Charlton ...... came upon a cave, of considerable dimensions, cut in the chalk and flint rocks.  .......four chambers have been discovered.... the  men .. found a knife and a spoon ........ and having lighted the whole of the tunnel with candles, and conducted visitors over ... charging them 3d for admission."

The article coments furtrher that Hanging Wood was 'quarried out oexistence by Edwin Gilbert' and goes on to give details of the position of the railway and the park. It concludes that  - "the feature discovered in 1849 seems most likely to have been a small drift mine for chalk"   and gives more details of chalk and lime workings wih reference to Lewis Glenton.

The article is by Paul Sowan who is coming to speak to GIHS again on 19th November. But otherwise read Subterranea for the whole story.

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