10 June 2022

Secret Nuclear Bunker - Kelvedon Hatch

 Not so much a secret these days as it was decommissioned in the early 90s and, of course, it's open to the public.

The bunker at Kelvedon Hatch in Essex, was built as a back-up government HQ in case of a nuclear attack during the Cold War. 

Just to the left of the building you can see the stacks of the diesel Rolls-Royce generators.

This is the entrance you see today from the makeshift carpark.

When it was active there would have been a proper road leading up to this unassuming country cottage, which served as the guard house to the main entrance.

Wise words.

Behind the normal windows you can see the steel shutters painted brown to mimic wood.

This 120 yard tunnel links the house to the bunker inside the hill behind the house.

The bunker wasn't dug into the ground, rather the ground was piled on top of it to create the hill. Presumably to keep it dry from ground water and keep sewage flowing out and away.

Geiger counters.

Being X-rayed to death would not be a pleasant way to go.

The electronic devices are mostly a collection of things the owners of the museum found here and there. Any state of the art equipment would have been removed by the MoD when they abandoned the place.

All of these guns are much, much older then the bunker. And the label is wrong, the Thompson is the third one down.

These blast doors don't look like much but, then again, the bunker was designed to survive a direct hit to Westminster, not to itself.

The all important communication rooms are on the lowest floor, the safest. These would be used and staffed by the military.

This is the BBC room. Normal radio broadcasting would be replaced with messages sent out to the public from the bunker...

... in case there was anyone still out there to listen.

The remnants of a now outdated telephone exchange.

Here you can observe the obligatory world clocks.

The main situation room with large illuminated transparent maps. High tech stuff in the 80s.

The adjacent plant room with air pump and the all important purifiers that remove radioactive dust from the air, before being pumped into the bunker's ventilation system.

The mother of all air conditioners. All those computers and staff generate a lot of heat and you can't just crack open the window.

Now we are on the middle floor, used by the civilian administration.

A small number of choice residents enjoy the luxury of having their own room.

In reality the elected PM may not make it to the bunker alive, so an official already at the bunker would have to assume the role.

These are the offices off all government departments and institutions in one place.

The main staircase.

The top floor houses the living quarters.

The hospital...

... complete with body bags and cardboard coffins. A grim reminder of what one could realistically expect from a nuclear blast.

The washrooms are very well equipped but water would be strictly rationed.

The bunker could house up to 600 people at full capacity, but that would make it very cramped indeed.

One of the smaller exits at the top.

You'd never know there is a tunnel there.

The radio mast on top of the bunker and the hill, packed with mobile network transmitters.

In conclusion, I have to say, it was an interesting way of spending a couple of hours. If you listen to the tour guide (self guided device), you'll come away with a sobering and quite chilling warning about the real life consequences of nuclear war. Not to be taken lightly.

The bunker and its facilities are kept in excellent condition by its current, private owners.

Admission is a reasonable £10 but, if you want to take photos or videos, you'll have to throw another £5 into the box (quite literally) because 'secret'. So, I guess, the price of a secret is fairly small these days. Additionally, you'll have to sign a piece of paper, where you acknowledge that copy rights of said photos and videos belong to the owners of the bunker, for eternity, and you will not monetize them in any way.

Over and out.