Emmer Green in the north of Reading has a number of disused chalk mines. One lies beneath what is now the headquarters of the 89th Reading Scout Group.
From the plan of two intersecting ‘starfish’ it seems that there were once two mines with separate shafts which were later linked - the easternmost of which is now capped. The excavated chalk was used for lime mortar after treatment in lime kilns. The site abuts Kiln Lane which is a nice reminder of the former industry. Some chalk may also have been used in the local brick production or in agriculture.
It is likely that chalk extraction ceased towards the end of the 19th century and the mines were being used for mushroom cultivation. The mine has graffiti from the working period. Part of the mine was used in World War II as a secure store for some of Reading Council’s records and for this purpose a Nissen Hut was assembled within one of the chambers.
Access to the mine is by a vertical 70 foot ladder and the space is still used by the local scout group for caving and exploration.