Friday 31 January 2020

Reviews and snippets May 2004

Reviews and snippets  May 2004


On the 4th April this year an event was held to celebrate the 139th anniversary of the opening of the Southern Outfall Works at Crossness. This was a most successful occasion representing the high point of the work of the Trust over the past 18 years. It was shared by 261 members and guests including Simon Jenkins one of the Vice- Presidents. The afternoon was punctuated by three periods of steaming of Prince Consort each of which was preceded by a selection of live bag-pipe music performed from the gallery of Victoria. Following the second steaming, Peter Bazalgette, the Trust’s Chair, addressing the multitude, spoke eloquently about the history and future of the Trust and its work at Crossness. This was followed by a very generous buffet tea at 3.30pm. Some hearties also walked the newly revised Crossness Trail, which follows a route around the site.

Peter Trigg writes: Following the visit of H.R.H. Prince Charles last year for the first official running of the engine, Prince Consort, a further running took place on 4th April for the benefit of some 300 supporters. This event celebrated the 159th anniversary of the inaugural steaming on 4th April 1865. The engine had been beautifully restored together with the cast iron framework. It ran very quietly considering its size, it was fascinating to watch the operation of the valve gear. After the running was finished the Chairman of the Crossness Engines Trust, Peter Bazalagette, Great, Great Grandson of Joseph Bazalgette, the Engineer of the Project, gave a speech thanking members for their efforts in restoring the engine over a period of 19 years. He expressed the hope that the other three engines might also be restored. A large exhibition of photographs, paintings and drawings was on display. Of especial interest was a section covering the sludge boats, which were only taken out of service some two years ago when the incinerator was brought into use.


In late March, the Mercury ran a story about a CAMPAIGN launched to save Deptford's ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterfront’. This is spearheaded by William Richards and Chris Mazeika from the Shipwright's Palace. The campaign ‘aims to ensure the area's ancient buildings are saved from developers’ in response to the huge influx of development in Deptford and a fear old buildings will be knocked down to make way for new schemes.
Will Richards is quoted as saying: "Five years ago saw the loss of the buildings on the power station site and 1984 saw the destruction of the 1720s' naval storehouse and the removal of the clock to Thamesmead. We must hold on to what is left to save it from the tyranny of the bland which has taken over the north side of the river."
The Seven ‘Wonders’ are:

** Borthwick Wharf – designed by Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medallist, Sir Edwin Cooper in 1934 it is the late tribute to Deptford’s 500 year old meat industry.

** Payne’s Wharf – listed in 2002 this mid-19th century riverside building has huge Italianate arches and was built for a boiler manufacturer.

** Upper Watergate Stairs. An early river access point – believed to be where Sir Walter Raleigh laid down his cloak for Queen Elizabeth

** Master Shipwright’s House. A listed 18th century building. Now restored to be used as a house, private gallery and performance space.

** The Great Double Dry Dock. This 16th century building is the first granite lined structure in the world. It is currently filled with rubble.

** The Basin – dating back to the 13th century this is mentioned in King Henry VIII indenture of 1513 as containing his second most powerful ship, the Mary Rose.

** Victualling Yard Buildings – these listed 18th buildings are currently used as houses and offices in the Pepys Estate.

Editor's note: – Why haven’t you included the ‘Penn’ bollard Upper Watergate – now the only relic of Penn’s engine builders, and, also, why not the massive covered slip from the 
1840s, now called ‘Olympia’!


At their February meeting Blackheath Scientific Society heard a talk by Trevor Williams, Chief Engineer for Transport for London of the S.E. Sector of Roads. The following is a summary, taken from the Society’s minutes, of some of the events surrounding the hole which appeared in Blackheath Hill in 2002.

On Sunday 7th April 2002, Mr. Williams was told that he had a hole in one of his roads. This is not particularly uncommon; but by the following morning, the road had already been closed with an impressive amount of fencing and cones; and four adjacent buildings had been evacuated - one remains unoccupied to this day. The hole, by the junction of Blackheath Hill and Maidenstone Hill, was large and growing. Just before it had appeared a bus had gone by and later a car driver said he had just managed to drive on as the road surface collapsed. Two large water mains had both ruptured, and flowing underground had formed a quicksand. No one will ever know whether a water leak started the hole or if ground settlement broke the water mains - the evidence was washed away. The hole eventually stabilised at about 9m long, 4m wide and 4m deep.

The history of the area is of caverns left by chalk mining over hundreds of years, though not under the road itself; although there was a tunnels under Blackheath Hill, built lower down for an early railway. Another tunnel was said to run from the Victorian church of Holy Trinity to the Horse & Groom pub but was found not to exist. That pub itself had a history of movement and was already empty, another building was moving less seriously and was still occupied. Blackheath Hill divides Lewisham on the south from Greenwich each responsible for the buildings on their side.

Physical investigation by TfL was confined to the area of the road - initially by levelling the road surface at spots around the hole marked by blue crosses. Then Microgravity measuring equipment was brought in to assess whether the ground beneath the whole length of the hill was dense or loose. Microgravity plots were then produced and they generally showed looser conditions on either side of the road, and this was confirmed by the boreholes. Chalk pits, not tunnelled caverns, were found and they had gone 20m below the land surface, except for a spine under the road itself. Even then the odd bite had been taken out and, at a low level, a tunnel had been made to connect the two sides of the workings. The chalk pits had been back filled by the mid 19th Century. This connecting tunnel was found to be satisfactory, as was the later railway tunnel.

The modern road is wider than the original, and now overlaps the chalk spine - it was the old, unconsolidated fill that had collapsed under the hole, down the north side of the spine.
The treatment was first to fill the hole with gravel. Then, to prevent a recurrence, the old fill by the sides of the spine was consolidated. A curtain of grout was created on both sides of the road. Boreholes were drilled through the fill to solid ground, then as the drill was removed high pressure grout was forced in to fill the borehole and any voids, and to compact the surrounding old fill. The grout is cement based, specially formulated to match ground conditions and avoid affecting the chalk aquifer underneath (which is used in London's water supply), or the foundations of adjacent buildings - it has to be water permeable, neutral, and stiff.

Drilling rigs are not plentiful, and Britain was scoured to get seven - six in use with one standby - another was brought on a barge from Italy.

While repairing the water pipes the opportunity was taken to line them from top to bottom of the hill with plastic tubing; which was welded into suitable lengths along the closed off road on the Heath. The retaining wall for Hollymount Close was in a poor state - it was agreed that a new sheet piled retaining wall be built further back, permitting a wider pavement. A special Japanese machine was brought in from Germany for some of this work. The Horse & Groom pub was demolished. After two years the work should be finished.

by John Day

The first article which this Newsletter ever received dealt with John Day’s memories of his apprenticeship at the Royal Arsenal. We have run this as an intermittent series ever since. Here, now, is the last episode – and with apologies to John for the length of time it has taken to get this far. Don’t let it put you off sending more stuff in!

We had our moments at the Woolwich Polytechnic where Dr. Mallet was the Principal. At the end of our second year most of us went for interviews at one or other of the London Colleges to study for degrees. Only three were successful, Hibbert, Maybe and Walker. The first two went to Kings College and Walker to City and Guilds. It was said that Mallet only agreed to the departure of those who were not likely to gain a degree, or whose parents could afford the fees for a College education. This seemed to have been borne out since nearly all who stayed at the Poly were successful.

We were joined by several non-Woolwich apprentices for the three years, among whom were Grey (a Belgian), whose engineering drawings were works of art, Eric Smith, who after a spell at British Celanese took over a wire drawing machine firm in Rochester, and TonyWeston. Tony was the butt of two practical jokes, one when we chained the rear axle of his Swift car to a bundle of girders destined for an extension to the Engineering Dept. The other on 5th November, when we rigged up a rocket pointing through a louvre in the top of the bonnet with a piece of fuse wire across the starter terminals. We began an argument about starting times and solemnly went out to the car park armed with stopwatches. It worked beautifully.I bought myself a green tweed suit and sitting one day at the controls of the tension test machine I was presented with a child's Green Line conductor’soutfit. After he had sold his Swift, Tony Weston bought an Austin Seven, which he found one day had been taken through double doors and down a flight of steps and parked in a corridor.

The staff at the Poly included Dr. Walter Scoble, chairman of the Committee on Wire Ropes, who tried to teach us metallurgy in the first hour after lunch on a Friday. "Sweater" Ashworth, a very kindly Lancastrian who instilled the basics of thermodynamics without actually telling us anything. His system was to put a problem on the board and leave us to it. After a reasonable time, he would look at our vacant faces and write his magic formula on the board - Heat lost = Heat gained - then he would ask what was lost and what was gained and the problem was solved! Sweater drove an open Humber tourer and he would pick up any tramp, lash his pram with its contents to the luggage grid and take the tramp to his next nights stop.

The lecturer that took us for structural design had designed the tall radio masts at Rugby. He was also friendly with the builders of Waterloo Bridge and we had a visit one afternoon when the centre span consisted of a couple of planks. Did you realise that the actual piers are only three feet thick and they allow the deck to move an inch or so with the movement of the traffic? We were lectured on mathematics by Lowry, a brilliant man who was so wrapped up his subject that he was oblivious of anything that happened in the room. He had a habit of apparently snatching a number out of nowhere, when queried what it was he would say, in a slightly hurt voice as if everyone knew, that's the cube root of XXXX! He also had a habit leaving out lines of a calculation.

As you will have gathered I left the Arsenal in 1939 to go to the Patent Office, I was there only a few weeks before I was seconded to the R.A.E. Farnborough. For the war years, my love of internal combustion engines was met by my being deeply involved with Rolls-Royce engines and turbines, a subject that had nothing to do with Woolwich. However, I did return to Woolwich during the war, when my office was in London, and did a spell as a leading fireman at Red Lion Lane. I also lived on Shooter's Hill until 1963. But they are stories for another day.....


The Autumn 2003 Quarterly Review...
from English Heritage’s London Region lists some archaeological work in Greenwich Borough area. Inevitably these are ‘dirt’ archaeology which takes scant interest in industrial remains. However, some highlights are:
Anchor Iron Wharf, Lassell Street, Greenwich (dig by the Museum of London Archaeology Service).

They found 17th and 18th century deposits and structural remains of the 16th to 20th centuries. The earliest remains are likely to be associated with the 'Hobby Stables' of 1532-1533.

Safeway Store Extension, Thamesmead (dig by MOLAS).
They found fragmentary remains of a wide stone wall across the site made of hard ragstone rough hewn blocks on the north side, and facing the Thames. A second wall built of rough-hewn chalk blocks might be associated with Tripcott House. It is thought that proximity to a vertically faced river wall would allow small craft to offload here.

White Hart Triangle, Thamesmead (dig by MOLAS)

The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich (dig by Oxford Archaeology)
As well as remains from the Military/Industrial period, they uncovered evidence of Roman and late Medieval activity. They found part of an extensive late Roman cemetery containing c.140 graves. There was also structural and landscape evidence of Tower Place, a mansion house with extensive grounds on the eastern limits of the Arsenal site. Adjacent to the site of Tower Place, was a tile-built double-flued pottery kiln with associated waste dumps, and clay storage pits. Work on the Thames foreshore showed preserved timber posts and plank revetments. Other timbers at the western end of the site could be from a wharf and the cranes that operated there. The main excavations centered on the historic core of the site where the Royal Laboratories, built in 1696-7 for ammunition and 'fireworks' production, and the Great Pile or Dial Arch Complex, a cannon boring workshop and storehouses of 1717-20 attributed to Nicholas Hawksmoor, are located. Both areas revealed evidence of their original layout amid a vast array of structural evidence which had been added over their c.300 year operational existence. Structural remains included foundations, walls and floors, machine bases, coal cellars, iron and bronze furnaces, a casting house, engine house, boiler houses and complex flue systems. Other investigations at the site found a large amount of below ground structural evidence from demolished buildings, spanning the entire period of the site's military role, including details of a range of officer's quarters known as the New Barracks (1739), lost ranges of the Grand Store (1806-13), early 19th century magazines, the Rifled Shot and Shell Foundry (1855-6) and the 'Old Forge' (1856-8) used in the production of Armstrong-type guns and the Central Power Station (1895). In addition, historic road surfaces often with inset rail-track, and their underlying service runs were recorded. In addition, building recording was done on New Laboratory Square (1783?-c1890) and the pair of Riverside Guard Houses (1814-15). Finds ranged from Roman pottery, glass and jewellery, to the late medieval-early post medieval kiln furniture and clay pipes, to post medieval and modern small arms ammunition such as musket shot and bullets to cannons and cannon balls.

A second piece of work on a different site uncovered a series of small scale, timber stake and wattle structures inland from the current line of the Thames River Wall and dating from the medieval period. They are thought to be part of former fence lines, possibly fish traps, plus the foundations of an earthen River Wall. Two ditches, running E-W were thought to be part of the network of drainage ditches to allow Plumstead Marshes to provide agricultural land. This drainage system is apparent on maps dating to 1670, 1701, 1717, 1725 and 1749 and may have their origins from the 'inning' of the marshes in the medieval period. In 1779, this area was incorporated into the Arsenal. The well-preserved brick built remains of the Proof House, late to become the Proof Offices (built pre-1780) survived. There were other brick buildings, which related to the Proofing Workshops (built 1780-1802) sited south of the still extant E-W drained channel. There was no evidence for the contemporary Convict Sheds built to the north of this channel, although these may have been totally removed to make way for the north range of the Grand Stores east Quad constructed in the same position. A substantial cut in the northern-most part of the trench may be associated with the new River Wall begun in 1802. This allowed for a new river frontage before the construction of the Grand Stores 1806-15. In the second decade of the 19th century, the area was completely remodeled with the construction of the East Quadrangle of the Stores Department. The drainage channel was infilled, and brick culverts were constructed to drain the area. These culverts were then buried under a massive land raising exercise prior to the timber piling alignments upon which are constructed the substantial brick foundations of the Grand Stores. At the East Quad the remains of this piling pattern were recovered and correspond to the SE corner of the northern range of this quad. Documentary sources reveal that this range suffered dramatic subsidence and was demolished in 1831. Most of the remains from the late 19th and 20th centuries were removed during remediation work as part of the recent infrastructure works.

In the Woolwich Antiquarians current newsletter, Tony Robin writes:
Does anybody have memories of Thomas and Edge the builders who had their office at Station Chambers, Cross Street, and their works at Royal Dockyard Wharf? The firm was established in 1895 by the formation of a partnership between Edwin Thomas and John Edge. Many of the buildings in Powis Street and Hare Street which date from the turn of the last century, were built by them. They carried out many contracts for the Government in World War I, including extensions to the Royal Herbert Hospital on Shooters Hill. When peace was restored they built numerous local housing estates and sewer and drainage projects.

Editor’s Note – no memories Tony, but I’ve got a copy of their company history!

THE GLIAS JOURNAL is now available:

Nothing about Greenwich in it this time but lots of other fascinating material (Victorian Street paving, Barratt & Co. sweet manufacturer, and the Camden Hydraulic Accumulator). More details to come!

Thursday 30 January 2020

Reviews and snippets March 2004


Tony Robinson (Baldrick) of the 'Time Team', officially opened Greenwich Council's Heritage Centre in early February. Collections from the local history library in Mycenae Road, Blackheath and the Borough Museum in Plumstead, are now under one roof.
The new Centre is housed in Building 41, part of the New Laboratory Square, on the Royal Arsenal - a building developed between about 1805 and 1878 as storehouses and which, by 1853, was used for making gun cartridges and later became a carpenters and painters workshop.

#The opening event was a great occasion - despite the late arrival of guests due to problems in the road outside. It was a time for old friends to meet - and for new ones to be made.
One sad event connected to the opening is the retirement of Julian Watson - Local History Librarian for more years than we care to think about, and a great support to so many local researchers. So - thanks Julian - good luck in retirement - and - are you going to join GIHS?


Woolwich Antiquarians report from Jack Vaughan that the clock on the Carriage Department, Building 10, Royal Arsenal has been damaged. It seems that vandals scaled the outside of the building and swung on the clock hands until they were broken off. Jack is discussing the clock with the Curator of Clocks at the National Maritime Museum.


The 2004 New Years Honours List included an award to Captain Peter Deeks of the Woolwich Free Ferry as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, (M.B.E.). Captain Deeks has been responsible for the Ferry for many years, starting his career as a Thames Waterman before joining the Ferry about forty years ago as a deck hand.


A sharp-eyed member spotted a write-up in the Times for 28th November 2003 on the conversion of Mumford's Mill. This is part of what the writer, Mike Mulvihill, had to say:
"You wouldn't think that I could live less than 200 yards from a large 19th-century flour mill designed by Sir Aston Webb, the architect behind the eastern facade of Buckingham Palace. But until just a couple of weeks ago, when I walked past a 50ft blue sign announcing that the building was being turned into luxury flats, I didn't even know it was there. Mumford's Mill, as I learnt from the sales brochure, was at the heart of the Greenwich community for 100 years after it opened in 1848. But it fell into decline after the Second World War and closed in the 1960s, when it was replaced by a succession of light industrial enterprises. Its days were numbered until a development company stepped in last year with some ambitious plans for the future. It looks as though SE10 is about to get its first proper loft apartments.

As I read on, my mind turned to my very own life as a Trendy Loft-Living London Professional: my girlfriend, Jo, preparing sushi in our open-plan kitchen as I sit in the window playing the saxophone; the boys coming round on a Sunday afternoon to watch football on my plasma screen; Chablis on the balcony on a warm summer's evening; stainless-steel kitchens and Philippe Starck bathrooms; surround sound, fresh coffee, olive oil, perfect hair and a smile on your face - the glossy magazine image of modern life. And here it was on my doorstep. I had to find out more.

There have already been considerable improvements lately, thanks largely to a group of people who you would be advised to follow if you want to know which area is going to be the Next Big Thing: artists. Goldsmiths College has always been a focal point for music and the arts in the area, which has recently witnessed the arrival of the state-of-the-art Laban dance centre, while painters, sculptors and potters are crawling all over the former industrial spaces of Deptford Creek, etc. etc. etc..

We receive a great many newsletters and booklets - thank you, and keep them coming - however, what is listed here are only those which have something of Greenwich interest in the current edition. Reviews of any publications of Greenwich interest are always welcome. There is, however, no publications news this issue.

'Dockland Apprentice' by David Carpenter.
This book describes the apprenticeship of a Plumstead boy working at the London Graving Dock in Poplar. It is very highly recommended as a story of work in the docks, when the docks were the docks, and the river was the river. Young Dave - replete with quiff and DA - learns his trade as a marine engineer with a variety of characters and then goes out to service the ships of the world. The first chapter sees him on the Woolwich Ferry and in the last he is steaming off down the estuary to new and foreign engineering jobs. Inevitably most of the accounts of south London are in regard to his daily river crossings through the two-way working old Blackwall tunnel on his Norton - 'flat out in 2nd gear down into the tunnel, taking the first bend at 60 mph, then into 3rd gear at 70 mph, down the straight reaching 90mph ... slow down for the bend, then flat out and out of the tunnel at 95 mph.'.
Bears Hide, 2 Bramber Avenue, Peacehaven, BN10 8LR. £15.99

July/October 2003 gives news of archaeological work.
There is information about the Study Group on Stowage, which has found 18th Century and 19th Century walls. Another article describes investigations in the Arsenal - in part this says "Oxford Archaeology carried out a field evaluation of the north-east zone on behalf of Berkeley Homes. A series of small scale, successive timber stake and wattle structures ran on an E-W alignment 55m inland from the current line of the Thames River Wall. These alignments were dated to the medieval period, the earliest AD 1020- 1280. They are considered to represent elements of former fence lines, possibly fish traps, and the possible foundations of an earthen River Wall. Two ditches, both running E-W are considered to be contemporary elements of the network of drainage ditches which enabled the reclamation of this area of the Plumstead Marshes behind the river wall to provide agricultural land. This system is apparent on maps dating to 1670, 1701, 1717, 1725 and 1749 and may have origins from the 'inning' of the marshes in the medieval period.
In 1779 this area of land was incorporated into the Arsenal having previously been outside its eastern limits. The well-preserved brick built remains of the Proof House, later to become the Proof Offices (built pre-1780) were recorded. Details of the internal division of this structure add to the basic outline detail gained from historic maps. Further brick structures comprised brick walls and surfaces, and related to an E-W orientated range labelled on historic maps as the Proofing Workshops (built 1780-1802). These was no evidence for the contemporary and parallel Convict Sheds to the north however, these may have been totally removed to make way for the north range of the Grand Stores East Quad which was constructed in the same position as the earlier Convict Sheds.
A substantial cut is interpreted as groundworks for a new River Wall commenced in 1802. These works allowed for land reclamation and a new river frontage in advance of the construction of the Grand Stores 1806-15. In the second decade of the 19th Century, the area was completely remodelled with the construction of the East Quadrangle of the Stores Department. Documentary sources reveal that this range suffered subsidence and was demolished in 1831.

WOODLANDS FARM - a brief history.
This five-page booklet costs 20p and is available from the Farm Trust (020 8319 8900).

The current Crossness Engines Record includes this item:
"Off to Sea"
In July, 1908, a neatly penned note observed that the Main Drainage Committee's Chief Engineer approved an allowance of 1/- per head for refreshments for children from the Outfalls at Barking and Crossness during their excursion. This exciting day out was a journey on one of the new sludge vessels as no doubt it took its cargo out to the Barrow Deep, five miles off Clacton, Essex. A rudimentary calculation of the number of children at the southern outfall, reveals that about fifty children would have been of an age to make such a trip. Assuming a similar number would be available from the northern outfall, the prospect of the Captain and crew being responsible for about one hundred little souls either running around or throwing-up, beggars belief. The one hundred plus miles round trip can be very pleasant, but the excitement of the day, sandwiches and pop and maybe an on-shore breeze against an ebbing tide making for unwanted motion, could no doubt turn some of the youngsters a shade of eau de nil. Whatever the weather conditions or minor discomforts, I am sure that many children would carry memories of that 'day out' for many years to come. The thought occurred to me - who was the first person to promote the idea of a sea- going trip for children of the workforce of the two outfalls and when did the practice cease?

This volume contains an extremely important article on Creevey's Yard, Highbridge by Nicholas Cooke and Christopher Philpotts. This gives an enormous amount of details illuminating our knowledge of the historic riverside. The following brief extract may be of particular interest:
Amongst the copper alloy objects are a group of pins. Pinners' bones from the site indicate the presence of a small-scale industry manufacturing these objects. 46 pins came from gully [with further examples from the large dumps of domestic refuse pit. Small pins, used mainly as clothes-fasteners, were made from the medieval period onwards. Two forms are present, which may reflect the distinction between pins made on site, and subsequent incidental losses. The pins from the gully have simple wire-wrapped heads and are relatively consistent in length (30-32mm). This group includes a significant number of what appear to be unsharpened 'blanks', and also two additional items: a short length of wire (46mm) and a probable needle. As far as can be ascertained, all the other pins from the site have heads formed by wire wrapped around the shaft and then shaped to a globular form. Lengths vary from 24mm to 32mm, and there are no apparent 'blanks'."


On 1st February 2004 the Kent Underground Research Group (KURG) entered the Bostall Estates chalk mine to survey the condition of the mine. At the same time four surveyors from the London Bat Group (LBG) surveyed the mine for hibernating bats. The Chalk Mine is located in Abbey Wood. The entrance shaft is approximately 18 metres deep and is located in the grounds of a former Hospice on Federation Road, approximate grid reference TQ 478 735. Construction of the mine began in 1900 in order to supply raw materials for the construction of the Bostall Estate by the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society. During the next 6 years some 610 metres of tunnels were dug some up to 6 metres high. Mining ceased in 1906. In 1914 a sloping entrance close to Federation Hall allowed access to the mine for use as a bomb shelter. This tunnel was finally filled in the early 1960's. This is the first recorded bat survey of the mine.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 all British bats and their roosts are protected on Schedule 5. This act is subject to amendments under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 implements the Council Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora. All bats are listed as 'European protected species of animals' and it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take a bat. It is also illegal to intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place that a bat uses for shelter or protection (regardless of whether bats are actually present at the time); or to intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat.

The relatively high temperatures recorded during this survey meant that at the time of this visit it is unlikely that bats were using the site for hibernation purposes. However it remains a strong possibility that bats may still be using the mine at other times. It is known that the surrounding Abbey and Bostall Woods experience high levels of bat activity with a number of different species having been recorded in the locality. In a visit to the site in September there was unobstructed bat access via a hole in the concrete cap over the main shaft. At the time of this survey this hole had been covered with a sheet of plyboard although bat access would have still been possible. With the exception of the high temperatures, conditions within the mine were largely suitable for roosting bats. The rough-cut walls and ceiling provided enough nooks and cracks for bats to find roosting spots. At the time of the visit much of the mine floor was under up to ~60cms of water. 
This would increase humidity levels, which would be to the benefit of roosting bats.The London Bat Group strongly recommends that bat access into the mine is retained and enhanced through bat-friendly grilling. The mine entrance could also be securely fenced to reduce disturbance and improve public safety. Further advice should be taken from the London Bat Group and suitably qualified experts.

Refs: Le Gear R.F, 1987; The R.A.C.S. Chalk Mine and the Building of the Bostall Estate. Kent Underground Research