Margate Caves were discovered in the latter half of the 18th century, a gentleman named Francis Forster built a large red-brick house on the site . In 1798 his gardener, whilst digging behind the building, discovered "the caves" by having the ground give way beneath him.
The caves were opened as a tourist attraction and went through various transformations, including wartime air raid shelters, until being closed in 2004 due to Health and Safety concerns.
High Peak Geotechnical Ltd first got involved in 2010, when the owner of the nearby Shell Grotto, expressed a desire to re-open the caves.
Together with Graham Daws Associates, a geotechnical appraisal was undertaken of the caves and a scheme was put forward.
In 2018 following successful lottery funding works to re-open the caves began.
Breem construction built a visitor centre over the caves
Our works consisted of clearing the caves of accumulated rubbish, scaling loose rock from the walls and roof, shotcrete application to loose fissures, rock bolting and meshing of loose areas, replacement of handrails, construction of new steps, creation of a secondary access to satisfy mines regulations and installation of lighting.
The caves are now once again a major tourist attraction in Margate.
1st visit 2011
Margate caves 2018
Clearing the entrance
Digging down to the entrance passage
Bronze Age crouch burial discovered while clearing site
Timbering the entrance passage
Drilling for rockbolts
Bolting and netting of instability
Surveying for second egress
Driving second egress tunnel
Second egress tunnel
Finished second entrance