The project team extends their gratitude to Affinity Water for donating the exterior doors which volunteers have now installed into the sound mirror tunnel portals.
Previously bricked up and backfilled prior to the covering of the sound mirrors in the 1970s eyesore clearance programme, we are delighted to confirm that the portal and tunnel of the second inset mirror is now completely free to pass through!
The mine engineers have also made this section of the unlined tunnel structurally sound by use of newly sourced railway sleepers, replacing and taking inspiration from the original methods utilised during the 1940s further inside the tunnel.
Both sound mirror portals into the shelter network are now once again free to pass through for the first time in over 50 years!
The first mirror portal and tunnel were thought to have collapsed prior to the 1970s eyesore clearance programme and the backfilling of the second mirror portal and tunnel. Reinstating both portals and making the tunnels structurally sound again has been a fantastic achievement and we give a big thanks to our contracted mine engineers for their hard work.
With many feet of material blocking the portals, the works have however also reinstated the great mounds of spoil inside the tunnels again which will now need to be removed from the site once more by our team of eager volunteers in the coming months.
The great mound of spoil that was excavated from the sound mirrors and entrance structure at Fan Bay has now been completely removed from the white cliffs for disposal. The surrounding site should begin to re-colonise itself over the coming year before the public opening in 2015.
Broken concrete and metal recently brought down from the plant room ceiling has also been completely removed from the site, ready for near future proposed restoration works (planning permitting).
With the spoil removed, new temporary safety fences have been erected to protect visiting public from the deep excavation and recognised areas that have a sheer drop. The entire site continues to remain a working building site and therefore access is not permitted without guided authorisation.
Future works are currently under discussion in regards to the sound mirror structures, the surrounding cliff as well as the entrance structure. Further announcements will be made in the new year with planning approval.
2014 has been an incredible success for the project, which could not have been without all our volunteers and contractors so here is a big final thanks to all of you for this year.
Have a great Christmas and a happy new year, we’ll meet again on a sunny day (hopefully) at Fan Bay in 2015!
p.s. Also check out the following new pretty motion picture taken from the skies courtesy of our friends at NuVue Media:
Towering above those brave enough to visit are the Fan Hole sound mirrors, now proudly once again part of the White Cliffs of Dover to be seen by future generations thanks to our wonderful contractors, keen volunteers and YOU.
The full diary report of an incredible effort within just 4 weeks will be coming very soon along with timelapse video and more photos.
Please note that the sound mirrors are still a working building site and require further works to stabilise their future with the land around them. Until further notice, it is recommended should you wish to visit the mirrors while volunteers, contractors or NT staff are not on site to please keep a distance from the mirror structures and temporary access/structural aids.
Enabling works have been ongoing throughout the week preparing temporary safe access to the sound mirrors in Fan Hole for our contractors.
Conservation work has also been possible during the week to remove the 1970s spoil from the surrounding area of the sound mirrors which will allow the chalk grassland plants to re-colonise the area.
Further rediscoveries connected to the military structures and infrastructure have been found and recorded. This includes the ash path that would have originally interconnected the sound mirrors and adjacent entrances to the surface entrance of the deep shelter as well as the deep shelter plant room, engine room and gun battery further behind.
Removal of the spoil covering the sound mirrors will begin next week (weather depending) and will be assisted with manual work by volunteers in order to protect the fragile structures from further damage.
It is anticipated that the full uncovering of the sound mirrors will be complete within 2 weeks and then we will have the fun and interesting job of moving the spoil up the incline of Fan Hole and clearing out the deep shelter for disposal over the winter.
During these works, there is most likely to be times where the public will not temporarily be able to use public footpaths crossing the site and we would appreciate your assistance in helping us keep you safe by following guidance of safety fences, signage and from our volunteer stewards or contractors.