The Caves are reborn from the ashes of World War Two

The Caves are reborn from the ashes of World War Two

In May 1958 the Caves re-open again! James Geary Gardner, owner of the Chislehurst Caves and President of the Speleological Society, takes the lease and re-enters the Caves using Forster’s old entrance. Planning permission is given for use of the site of the Holy Trinity Rectory for a marquee, tea garden and ticket office.

Digging operations commence with the help of students – many of whom come from the Margate School of Art. The Caves are cleared of an accumulation of rubbish and Gardner also digs out the blocked Canon Pryor entrance, erects two huts on the surface and re-touches at least some of the wall paintings. The Thanet Giant is also added at this time, rendered in ultra-violet paint.

Image: James Geary Gardner, second from left. Image courtesy of Chislehurst Caves Archive.