Lydbrook air raid shelter?
Terry wrote: "... Hope you or the members of SunGreen can help. These three photos show a cave in Lydbrook behind the old "pop factory". In researching wartime bits for my book I was told that a cave or tunnel was used as an air raid shelter during the war. Can anyone remember using it? or if there was another tunnel used as a shelter?. I have the war-time invasion plans for Lydbrook and there were no allocated shelters ... the metal capstan in the 4th photo shows a GWR boundry marker".
Mrs G Brooke added: "... My Sister-in-Law Elvy told me that the cave was used as an air-raid shelter and there was a warden outside the entrance. She remembers they had old bus seats in there and wooden boxes and everything got very wet from the water dripping down. The cave divided into two. They called them the little cave and the big cave ...the children, of which she was one, called the big cave the 'jewel cave' because it glistened, as it was an old iron mine. They say there was a lake further in but she never ventured in too far as they only had candles. Herbie Hodges and a few others after the war used the cave to try and grow mushrooms but I have no idea how successful they were".
Jay Mason added (November 2011): "... I knew the tunnel as The Mushroom Tunnel and apparently it is supposed to come out up by Joys Green Farm".
Glyn Watkins added (December 2013): "... Recalling the mushroom tunnel, we used to go inside to explore as kids - not big enough to be an air raid shelter, but another very small passage that went up and became narrow then down for about ten yards, brought you to a small deep pool of water. Too cold and dangerous to enter, but if you were brave you could get to the pool. I lived in Lydbrook before moving to Joys Green with parents Gary and Myrtle Watkins. Dad is on the Ediswan photo, mum's dad lived in the Cherry Orchard farm and used to run a fish and chip shop from the Jovial Colliers pub, his name was Victor Wilce.
A caving club article about the air raid cave can be found here.
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