Friday 18 March 2011

Visit to 127 Deptford High Street, Formerly Nolans Clothes Shop.

I had the pleasure to meet Terry the proprieter of the shop which was once called Nolans's. Terry has been present in Deptford for many years and it was great to talk to him about the people and places he remembers on the High St. We started discussing the story, listed below, regarding the tunnel beneath his shop. He kindly agreed to let me go down into the cellar and view the tunnel entrance. I was surprised when Terry lifted a hatch by the till in the shop, which was the cellar entrance! It was a bit of a squeeze but we both got down there and I took the following photos.

The cellar entrance
Entrance to the tunnel now bricked up

Any ideas what these curious hinge type fixings were for??

Shop Owner  "Terry" My thanks to him for allowing me to disturb his business and go exploring.
Reproduced original posting for infomation.
In the early part of 1978 a survey was carried out at the request of Nolans Clothes Shop, No 127, by the proprietor Mrs Order. The purpose was to examine alleged tunnels under the shop which ran east to deptford Creek, or a Pub, or the place of Nelson's assignations with Lady Hamilton in Albury Street. A trap door at the front of the shop gives access to a series of cellars under the whole building, some of which were blocked and one which had a barreled roof and could be the begining of a tunnel leading directly under the street.It was described as being about 6ft high, with a stone rubble floor. There was a rectangular manhole leading to sewers beneath which were said to flood. The tunnel terminated in a brick wall at approximately the edge of the outside pavement. The bricks were of mixed stock and red bricks, with no obvious signs of great age, and were probably contempoary with the building which seemed from map and visual evidence to be c. 1844-50, contempoary with the adjacent Catholic church. It was noted  there was nothing on site on the 1844 tithe map but earlier maps 1800-33 may show buildings but were to small a scale to be confirmed with any certainty. There was a similar tunnel which had been blocked more recently and was said to lead from the indentical adjacent shop. It was discovered to have been blocked in by the owners of the shops across the street. The tunnel at No 127 seemed to be an extention of the cellars, and without pulling the wall down, there was no evidence of it going any further other than the edge of the pavement. If it did originally cross the street it would presumably join the cellars of the opposite shops. Does anyone know of underground tunnels in Deptford?