The tunnels, located behind a quarried chalk face in Limekiln Street in Dover, are early 19th century in origin and were reputedly built by Napoleonic prisoners of war using earlier lime workings. They would have been built to provide storage, and were linked to a section of the Oil Mills tunnels to the west. Some of the brickwork is of a very high standard, particularly to the vaulted tunnels set back from the cliff face and to several domes which may have been rooflit originally via oculi
Within the main tunnels, steps lead down to a bricked up entrance to the harbour railway tunnel, beyond which a platform is believed to exist. The access passage was reputedly built during the Second World War to allow casualties to be clandestinely brought in from ships arriving from the continent. It is not known if this ever happened, however the tunnels were used as a public air raid shelter during the war, and reuse was planned in the early 1950s in the event of war with the Soviet Union.
The current name comes from a 1970s fire brigade plan and the origin is unclear (a link with the Department of the Environment has been suggested based on the initials).
More information on the Oil Mills is available at Dover Historian.
Visit by kind permission of the Owners