Foxenden Quarry Deep Shelter, Guildford

Foxenden Quarry Deepshelter is in Guildford, underneath a car park on York Road. It was a purpose built public air raid shelter for the people of Guildford. It was one of eighteen other air raid shelters and tunnels in the area, all of which varied in size and were mostly converted cellars and basements. There was also a system of trenches nearby that originated prior to the Foxenden Shelter. The shelter was constructed in 1941 by JB Edwards and Co (Whyteleafe) Ltd in a chalk quarry and was designed to accommodate 1000 people. It was in use until about 1944 when it was deemed that the threat had passed. During the latter periods of use from 1942 it was used for food storage and was considered a candidate for to be converted into a Civil Defence Corps reporting centre. This did not happen however and by 1945 the shelter was surplus to requirements and was closed for good. It then sat in this sealed condition until recently when it was ‘discovered’ during the construction of the car park. This has caused it to remain in a near perfect, undamaged and un-vandalised condition.

The shelter is situated about 50 feet underneath the public tennis courts in Guildford and and is accessed by two steel doors in the car park. Evidence of the surface structures can be seen alongside the tennis courts, these being the block houses at the top of the emergency exit shafts both of which are comprehensively sealed.  The shelter is constructed by first having tunnels cut out of the chalk, which are then lined with two courses of bricks. The rear most course of bricks on either side is slightly higher than the inward side to provide a ‘step’ to allow the sharply angled ‘V’ shaped roof to fit. This provides an inherently strong structure. The void above the roof was then packed with spoil to further strengthen the shelter.  The floor is concrete throughout and some tunnels remain unlined.

Foxenden Quarry Shelter Plan

The shelter has a 1st Aid post, three toilet blocks (both male and female) two combination air vents/ exit shafts and a shelter marshall’s office. There was also a bay set aside for the children of Sandfield School. There is also evidence of running water, electricity and lighting, air circulation and beds in some of the bays but interestingly the toilets lack flushing water or plumbing unlike some deep shelter such as London Road .

This is a fantastic and well preserved Deep Shelter and the Council open it to the public to visit a few times a year (ticket only). The Guildford Museum and the Tourist Information Centre in Guildford have a fantastic booklet available to buy that has a comprehensive history of the shelter – well worth a read, details below.

‘The Foxenden Quarry Deep Shelter’ By Helen Chapman Davies, ISBN 0-9543753-3-5 priced £3.00 (correct as of 17-05-2008) available from:

The Guildford Museum

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Modified: 6th Nov 2017