Ramsgate Tunnels to feature on Underground Worlds series tonight

Ramsgate Tunnels

The Ramsgate Tunnels feature on the newest episode of the Underground Worlds series on Yesterday TV tonight (January 10).

The exclusive series reveals incredible feats of human endeavour and reveals what people have built, how they built it and why.

Episode one of the second series tells the tale of Ramsgate’s extensive air raid tunnels.

The Victorian Railway Tunnel was where those who lost their homes to enemy bombing set up home in the Town below the Town. There was a canteen, accommodation cubicles and a first aid post which served a vibrant community of nearly 1,500 people.

Wartime ‘Tunnel Town’

The Murder Raid Tunnels episode airs at 8pm on – Yesterday (Catch-up on UKTV Play)

The Ramsgate Tunnels reopen for visitors on Wednesday (January 12) with new tour times at 11am, 1pm and 3pm, tickets on sale now ad online booking is required.

Due to the continuing covid situation tour group sizes will be reduced and face coverings will be required in the main railway tunnel and at all times while on the tour in the deep shelter tunnels.

Ticket prices remain at the same rate as in 2020 and are available by booking at ramsgatetunnels.org

The Tunnels Tea Shop will also re-open from Wednesday at 10:30am to 3pm

Tunnel construction

Originally constructed as a railway to connect the harbour of the town with the main train line, Ramsgate Tunnels are two and a half miles long and in some places are as much as 27 metres below the surface. The largest of the tunnels, dates back to October 1863, when it was opened as a railway tunnel serving Ramsgate Harbour Station. The line closed in 1926, when the current Ramsgate station opened. However, the tunnel was brought back into use in 1936, when a narrow gauge railway ran between Hereson Road and the seafront.

The second phase of construction for the Tunnels was during the Second World War, when the Mayor of Ramsgate commissioned the construction of a series of tunnels to serve as underground shelters to protect the inhabitants of Ramsgate. Due to Ramsgate’s close proximity to Europe, the town suffered from heavy bombing during the Second World War.

The new line’s infrastructure was designed by Henry Greenly, a leading figure in the design of narrow gauge railways. He had begun his career at the Metropolitan Railway (now part of the London Underground), and had designed the route, buildings, locomotives and rolling stock for the Rhyl Miniature Railway and the nearby Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

The beginning of The Ramsgate Tunnels attraction

In January 2014, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £84,500 to the tunnels and they were reopened to the public six months later in June 2014, just 75 years after they were first opened in 1939. Since then, volunteers have transformed the heritage attraction into one of the leading visitor destinations in the south east of England.

And there are plans for a major new attraction to recreate what life was like in Ramsgate before the devastating raids of World War Two.

The ambitious project will recreate a 1940s street scene and new welcome facilities within Ramsgate’s 157-year-old Victorian railway tunnel. It will also massively increase visitor capacity at the attraction.

Part of the street scene for the Ramsgate Tunnels 2024 project Image Houghton Kneale Design Ltd,

Ramsgate Tunnels unveils plans for major new attraction recreating 1940s life

Visitors will relive two pivotal days in history at ambitious Ramsgate Tunnels 2024 project

Underground Worlds on Yesterday TV

Underground Worlds explores the wonders hidden beneath our feet. The intriguing stories behind these extraordinary man-made spaces, natural caves, military bunkers and wonders of engineering are brought to life with spectacular footage from deep down below.

Each of the ten episodes features three underground worlds and unpacks each unique story – its conception, its construction, its uses and, in many cases, its repurposing for different future uses.

7 Comments

  1. I remember getting the little train from Hereson Road that took you down past illuminated pictures of nursery rhymes and other scenes.

    • I used to bring my daughters back home from London to see my mum, we used to get off the train at Dumpton Park, walk down the beginning of Hereson Rd to catch the train to the sands. Mum used to live kn the top of the cliff near the waterfal l so would meet us at the bottom of Kent steps. I think the shed we entered by is still behind the garage.

  2. More interesting tunnels in Ramsgate that have been blocked up.

    The one that ran from the Bandstand to the old Pleasurama site has many chalk carvings that will know be lost forever!

    Also the ones under the old hospital that I believe still had equipment that is again sealed!

    How about all the history of that area with regards to the Napoleonic Wars and the Duke of Wellington that are boarded over in the houses along Wellington Crescent and the area behind?!.

    Ramsgate has such a rich history that is being lost forever because it doesn’t get talked about as much as an old railway tunnel!

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