Over the last year, underneath the high street the Forest Hill Society embarked on a top-secret project to radically improve the future of Forest Hill town centre.
Lockdown and Covid restrictions presented some difficulties for the mining volunteers, but the use of breathing apparatus and the three separate entrances, has allowed work to continue below ground with up to 18 people at any time while maintaining social distancing. Many of the volunteers are from the Forest Hill library, but the temporary closure of the library has meant that many have had spare time to devote to digging - it turns out library staff make excellent miners - and remarkably quiet. The school closures during lockdown allowed us to make use of child labour, with children as young as four able to enter the smaller tunnels sections before adults.
The entrances were strategically chosen to avoid the need to dig down very far to pass under the hill. The South London Clay is easy to dig through without the need for machinery and will yield important raw materials for the local pottery industry. In fact, there is now so much clay available that local schools have been drafted in to produce hundreds of vases for families and friends.