O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

Things To Do In Dover When You're Dead

Going underground, Lake is back on the trail of Winston Churchill.

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: April, 2008
The Cabinet War Rooms café is a favoured hangout of mine. I am in the corner most afternoons with a 1943 Daily Telegraph and a camo-bowler hat.
by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: April, 2008
The Cabinet War Rooms café is a favoured hangout of mine. I am in the corner most afternoons with a 1943 Daily Telegraph and a camo-bowler hat.

So I had the title for this piece before I had even got off the train. Of course. I haven't googled it. Maybe it's already a tired out piece of Kent punnery. Still.

Regular readers will be aware that I am more than happy to follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill if he's leading me to some underground WWII HQ or secret tunnel. The Cabinet War Rooms café is a favoured hangout of mine. I am in the corner most afternoons with a 1943 Daily Telegraph and a camo-bowler hat. And of course there's my local bunker.

So. All the way to Dover to visit the "Secret Tunnels" under the White Cliffs. This is where they planned the Dunkirk evacuation. France is only 20 or so miles away and the shells took only 30 seconds to cross the channel. Dover was on the front line. It was known as "Hellfire Corner".

There was a full size hospital here, used to treat emergency casualties. Shot down or blown up men fed constant morphine and left to stare at the white walls. No windows. On the guided tour you follow an audio re-enactment of an airman being rushed from the entrance through to the operating room, lights flashing, sirens, sounds of bombs. Pretty good. Like a radio play with no plot, it fades out with him still on the operating table.

Further down is "Dumpy". Another secret level. A cold war era bunker from which the BBC could broadcast emergency TV in case of a nuclear war. They had probably planned a lot of home makeover shows I guess.

But "Dumpy" is out of bounds. I can't get past the door. Health and Safety. Which is also the reason you can't take any photographs anywhere. Not to worry. I sneaked one with my spy cam. Winston would have expected as much.

see more stories from outsideleft's Culture archive »»

Lake
Editor, London

the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.

more stories you really could read...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

The Popcorn Wars
Not content with Tuna, Diesel or French Fries, (and many more!!! - I hear you cry) the FDA sets its sights on our humble office staple, Microwaved Popcorn. Resident Doom and Gloom merchant jaycentee eats the evidence up and spits it back at you...
Jason Lewis, The Year: Love and (even more) Death
Jason Lewis' Review of his Year in music continues with L-o-v-e... And even more Death
At the All-Star Break: Waiting for t'Pau
Comets, stars and superstars its all in an nba day
Thank You, Top Stars
The first in a series of accidental coincidental playlists... Or do those Apple folks know more than they're telling?
Sticking a Fork in It - The Music of 2006
It is amazing how many of these lists still get produced after we here in the music department at outsideleft have consistently throughout our organization's lifetime produced the definitive list. I guess one should salute the temerity that the Pitchforks and the Rolling Stoneses out there exhibit. Bless the hearts.
How I Love Blue Monday
San Diego's Tristeza offer a modern organic twist on the undulating moody rock that new order caught us with eons ago.
Some of our favorite things...