Ramsgate Tunnels are set for another very busy year in 2018. Building on the success of last year, we will be opening seven days a week throughout the school holiday periods and subject to guide availability we will be operating hourly tours during peak periods. If you would like to join our expanding group of volunteers, please get in touch. No experience is necessary for guiding as full training will be given. We also have vacancies in a number of other areas.
Back in November 2017, we tried something entirely new. For those of you who have been on one of our tours, you will remember switching your torches off and experiencing total darkness, always a part of the tour which leaves cries for more. With this in mind we decided to go one better and conduct an entire tour in total darkness save for hurricane lamps. This created a unique atmosphere for those on the tour as they explored the events of November 1940. The tours were a sell out and will be repeated in November 2018.
Another change for 2018 is our new café. The all new Tunnel Teas Café is now open for you to enjoy a light lunch or indulge in a slice of freshly baked cake, fine tea, coffee, Belgium hot chocolate or choose from a selection of cold drinks. We hope you will come down and make use of the new facilities even if you don’t fancy coming on a tour.
You may have seen the tunnels on television just before Christmas with an appearance from one of our guides Brian Woodland, who was interviewed as part of Dr Sam Willis’ Invasion! The programme within a series, painted the tunnels in a brilliant light, providing a brief history of the complex in the context of British defiance against invasion. Brian not only guides at the Tunnels, he also remembers sheltering in them as a boy during the war years.
For those of you who enjoyed visiting the Defence of the Nation Museum, you will be pleased to know that the building has undergone refurbishment and re-opened the doors at Easter. The exhibition’s new galleries will cover the entirety of the tunnels’ history from their first inception as part of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company to the critical part the tunnels played within the towns Civil Defence operations during the Second World War. The cabinets will have something for everyone, from the dedicated history buff to the casual visitor alike.
If anyone has any items from Ramsgate’s wartime or peace time history, especially if it has particular relevance to the tunnels or the railway, and would be willing to either loan or donate the objects we would be delighted to hear from you.
In addition to our special Overland Tours, Railway Tours and Blackout Tours, we will be holding a number of other events at the tunnels from a series of talks on Ramsgate’s Military Heritage to an afternoon of swing with The Beverley Big Band, Kent’s leading swing band. Details of these and other special events can be found on our website at www.ramsgatetunnels.org