Things to see and do
Corridors within Dover Castle's Underground Hospital.

Annexe - The Underground Hospital

Travel deep into the White Cliffs and explore Dover Castle's atmospheric Underground Hospital. Visitors today can experience the sounds, smells and atmosphere of the Second World War dressing station with its operating theatre, wards and corridors.

The entrance to the operating theatre in Dover Castle's Underground Hospital.

What was Annexe?

In the summer of 1941 proposals were put forward for an underground Main Dressing Station, to be constructed close to but at a higher level in the cliffs than the existing network of tunnels at Dover Castle. Here the expected casualties from the fierce bombing and shelling of Dover could be given medical treatment in safety, and stabilised before being sent to hospitals further inland.

Named Annexe level, the new tunnel complex was designed on a grid system, with longer communication tunnels linking shorter tunnels that held reception areas, wards, an operating theatre, kitchens and stores. Staffed by the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) with surgeons, nurses, orderlies and cooks, the complex was bombproof, safe from air attack and shelling, although conditions were still far from ideal. Lack of light, noise from the ventilation system and cramped conditions made life tiring for both patients and orderlies. Nonetheless, an operational medical unit remained in Annexe into the early 1950s.

A group of visitors tour the Underground Hospital.

What can we see today?

Today, explore Annexe on your visit to Dover Castle to see the display of contemporary medical equipment and recreated rooms based on photographs showing them in use during the Second World War. Relive those remarkable days through dramatic audio effects, and follow the story of an injured pilot as doctors fight for his life. Visiting the tunnels involves steps and slopes, so make sure you check our access page when planning your visit. Tours leave regularly throughout each day the castle is open. Ask site staff upon your arrival for the best time to visit the tunnels on that specific day.

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