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Chislehurst Caves - caves tour and a social

  • Feb 26, 2012 · 1:15 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

I have visited the caves a couple of years ago and it was great fun.

We could go for some drinks/food in town ofterwards.

The price is £13.50 and includes an entry fee and guided tour of the caves as well as a return train ticket from London Victoria.

The caves at Chislehurst are a labyrinth of man made tunnels forming a maze covering over six hectares thirty metres below the woodlands above. They were dug for chalk used in lime burning and brick-making for the building of London, also for flints to fire the tinderboxes and flintlock guns of years ago.

First open to the public in the start of the 20th century as a showplace, the guides told the Victorian history of Druids, Romans and Saxons, smuggling and murder.

The last 100 years has added amunitions storage for the Woolwich Arsenal in the[masked] war, mushroom growing in the 1920's & 30's and becoming an underground town as one of the largest deep air-raid shelters in the country, protecting over 15,000 people at the height of the blitz. In the 1960's & 70's as a venue for dances and concerts, presenting the foundations of Jazz, Skiffle & Folk music to the most famous names in pop and rock.

Chislehurst is a delightful mixture of the quaint and the historic. Although the town is just 3 miles (4.8km) from the South Circular, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in the heart of the countryside.

The inventor of British Summer Time lived in Chislehurst. William Willett was a builder by trade. On this walk you will pass his house, Cedars, which he built himself. It was while out riding in nearby Petts Wood one day that he was inspired by an idea to increase the hours of light in the day 'to improve health and happiness'. He soon became obsessed with the concept. In 1907 he circulated a pamphlet around Parliament and town councils, which argued that the many hours of light wasted while people slept in the mornings should be transferred to the evenings. Although it was met with considerable opposition, a Daylight Saving Bill was introduced in 1909. However, it would take another seven years to pass.

Had it not been for the First World War, Willett's idea may have remained on the shelf but, in 1916, a committee was set up to investigate ways of saving fuel. Consequently Willett's suggestion was given serious consideration. Indeed, it was introduced as a wartime economy measure in many countries on both sides. Sadly, William Willett never lived to see his scheme put into effect as he died in 1915. However, his summer-time legacy lives on and today, Britain keeps Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter and British Summer Time (BST) in summer.

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  • Heidi

    It was lovely. Everyone was really nice and Kat had a lot of enthusiasm.

    February 27, 2012

  • Kat

    Thank you guys for coming, it was such a nice day! :)

    February 26, 2012

  • Maciej D.

    Where exactly do we meet at Victoria station?

    February 26, 2012

  • Daniela

    Hi guys, I also live nearby so meeting at the caves would be easier, do we already have a meeting time?

    February 25, 2012

  • Kat

    Thank you so much Daniela, that's great! :)

    February 25, 2012

  • Gordon

    Is it possible to meet you at the caves or the rail station nearby instead? I'd like to come, but I live in Orpington so it doesn't make much sense for me to go into Victoria when I'm so close by

    February 25, 2012

  • Daniela

    Kat, I'm in, this sounds like a great day out and looking forward to my first tour! I've shared some of the details with people inquiring about it on Couchsurfing as well, hope this is OK!

    February 24, 2012

  • Kat

    Can't wait! ;)

    February 24, 2012

  • Kat

    The train station - I will send all the details tomorrow. ;)

    February 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Kat, are we meeting at Victoria station or the caves themselves? Look forward to seeing you!

    February 24, 2012

  • Zofia

    I would love to do it, but have something else planned that Sunday. Can this trip be repeated some other Sunday?

    February 20, 2012

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