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Chislehurst Caves


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#1 chislehurst

 

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:58 AM

There is a visitor attraction local to me called Chislehurst Caves. For years I'd driven past the signpost to it but never ventured in. A few years ago a friend came to visit and wanted to see the local sights so we went down there one morning, and I can't believe I hadn't been sooner.


I did a search on here to look up more info but couldn't find a topic, so thought I would start one myself. 


So...it turned out these aren't actually caves, they're old chalk/flint mines with an interesting history. 


The age of the oldest parts is debated - some say they date as far back as the druids and were then used by the Romans. The tour guides will point out "druid altars" in the oldest parts of the mine (and to be fair the main altar does look like that was it's purpose). However there is no record of the mines before the 17th century.


What is known is that once all mining stopped the Victorians used the mines as a visitor attraction. In the first world war they were then used as an ammunition store. In the second world war they were used by the owners as an unofficial air raid shelter, with 15,000 people living down there. Later they were used for mushroom growing due to the stable dark damp conditions, then live concerts due to the acoustics (many famous names including Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie).


Now they are a visitor attraction again, and reportedly haunted. A lot of stories (obviously really brought to life by the tour guides!) but it's not inconceivable given the multitude of uses the mines have had that there may be something down there. Some people say they hear children playing down there - probably from when the mines were used as an air raid shelter. Others say as they walk round on the tour they suddenly feel "someone" holding their hand, but no one is there. Tour guides claim to have been pushed by something unseen.


In the mines there is a "lake" (which was filled in prior to use as an air raid shelter for safety reasons so it is now quite shallow) where it is said a miner murdered and drowned his wife. She is said to haunt that part of the mines, and is known as the white lady. In the 80's (I think, not 100% on dates here) the owner set a challenge for anyone to spend the night alone by the lake, with just a set number of candles and matches. The reward on completion was £5. That was a lot of money then, so many tried - only one man ever completed the challenge, he did it by carving a horse on the wall to distract himself.  After completing the challenge he apparently left terrified of the presence he had felt breating down his neck as he carved the horse and would never step foot down the mines again.


Other stories of ghosts include roman slaves, a roman centurion,  a cavalier soldier, a dog. There is a story of a young priest who went down the mines alone without permission from the owner to exorcise the spirits. He ran out of candles partway round, and had to feel his way to the exit. He died from exhaustion and dehydration, and was found very near the exit with his fingers worn down from where he had been scrambling along the walls where sharp flint sticks out. He is now said to also haunt the mines.


I have been down the mines several times since I first went. Looking on the internet for more information I  found there was a three-part investigation by Most Haunted down Chislehurst Caves. The tour guides all seem to have a dislike of that investigation, claiming what they found to be untrue.

#2 CDS

 

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:07 AM

I assume this is in the UK somewhere? Very interesting... thanks for posting it!

Also: Welcome to the site!

Edited by CDS, 08 April 2016 - 07:08 AM.

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#3 JIMOverSeer

 

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 08:49 AM

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#4 chislehurst

 

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:34 AM

CDS - thank you for the welcome! You are right, I'm sorry I forgot to say where they are - Chislehurst is just outside of London.

Jim - thank you for adding the photos. Are you familiar with Chislehurst Caves?

#5 kevinscan

 

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 03:52 PM

The caves look interesting.

I like exploring caves, the last one I was in was Kelly hill caves.  (Kangaroo island, South Australia).
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#6 JIMOverSeer

 

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 01:03 AM

View Postchislehurst, on 08 April 2016 - 09:34 AM, said:

Jim - thank you for adding the photos. Are you familiar with Chislehurst Caves?

Nope, not familial at all. But looked it up and grabbed some pics to display. Seems like a fascinating place with some interesting history!
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#7 earthlydelitesGStudy

 

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 01:31 AM

what an interesting history! Can't believe they held concerts down there, that would have been amazing ! Love the pictures BTW Jim :D
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#8 Vlawde

 

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 11:22 AM

View Postearthlydelites, on 09 April 2016 - 01:31 AM, said:

what an interesting history! Can't believe they held concerts down there, that would have been amazing ! Love the pictures BTW Jim :D
    "Chislehurst!!  Are you ready to rock?!?!?)    ;)
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#9 MacCionoadha BeanSidhe

 

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 05:43 PM

It was on an episode of Most Haunted.
Most Haunted - S10E07 - Chislehurst Caves Part.1

Most Haunted - S10E08 - Chislehurst Caves Part.2
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#10 earthlydelitesGStudy

 

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 04:30 PM

Have to admit that I do enjoy a bit of most haunted from time to time, so I'll check these out. Thanks Mac!
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#11 MacCionoadha BeanSidhe

 

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 08:15 AM

You're welcome.
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