Explore the twists and turns of the Chislehurst Caves on Obscura Day, April 28, 2012

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When I was at TED in February, I told Joshua Foer, (author of Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything) about the Chislehurst Caves near London, suggesting that it would be a good place to visit on Obscura Day (an international celebration of unusual places that Joshua founded), held April 28, 2012. Joshua looked it up and agreed.

Here's the dope:

Thirty-five kilometers and completely self-made, these “caves” are shrouded in mystery. While used to mine for chalk, some believe that the oldest section dates back to the time of the "druids." Another section is supposedly attributed to the Romans when they came to England in 43 AD. Even Napoleon III and Shakespeare have also been tacked on to the space.

By WWII, the cave was repurposed as a bunker for 15,000 British citizens. Not merely a shelter, it was an elaborate underground city with a hospital and chapel. Twenty years later, it became a concert venue for rock stars like David Bowie and Led Zeppelin.

Today the cave is frequently used as a set for science fiction and fantasy television shows.

[The purpose of Obscura Day] is to get people all over the world going out to explore the curious places near them, on one day. Last year, we had events in 103 cities around the world, on all seven continents (including Antarctica).

After Dark at the Mysterious Chislehurst Caves

Also: Here's my video interview with Joshua from TED2012.

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    1.  I would suspect that by “self made” it means completely made/dug out by humans instead of being natural occurring underground spaces found and used/extended by humans. I’m no expert just a casual caver.

      1.  That is disappointing, I had hoped it meant that the cave excavated itself. Like it started as a little concavity in the wall with Big Dreams about becoming a gaping negative space.
        This us of “self” is a bit off, no? I mean you’d hope that a self-assembling robot means one that assembles itself, not one that you have to assemble, amiright?

  1. The purpose of Obscura Day is to get people all over the world going out to explore the curious places near them, on one day.

    So, invite a couple of folks to make a trip into my basement on the 28th and I’m good; I like easy.

  2. When I was at TED in February, I told Joshua Foer, (author of Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything) about the Chislehurst Canes near London…
    The caves sound fascinating, but do tell us more about these canes.  Are they made of candy?

  3. You’ve just reminded me that I once met someone who hired the caves for their 18th birthday party.

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