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Inside Churchill's Emergency War Bunker

M@
By M@ Last edited 95 months ago
Inside Churchill's Emergency War Bunker
The BBC built a small studio within the bunker, allowing Churchill to address the nation from within. It was never used for such a purpose. Sound padding remains on the walls.
The BBC built a small studio within the bunker, allowing Churchill to address the nation from within. It was never used for such a purpose. Sound padding remains on the walls.
The upper floor of the bunker is soaked in condensation and ground water.
The upper floor of the bunker is soaked in condensation and ground water.
Rotting machinery can be found throughout Paddock. Here's the control mechanism for the air pumps.
Rotting machinery can be found throughout Paddock. Here's the control mechanism for the air pumps.
The solid frames to blast doors are still in place, but rusting badly.
The solid frames to blast doors are still in place, but rusting badly.
"I'm a PC."
"I'm a PC."
Lunch time. The bunker is coated in a mycologist's banquet.
Lunch time. The bunker is coated in a mycologist's banquet.
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The bunker is completely anonymous from Brook Road. A housing estate has been built on top. As part of their initial contract, the developers had to allow public entry twice a year.
The bunker is completely anonymous from Brook Road. A housing estate has been built on top. As part of their initial contract, the developers had to allow public entry twice a year.
A pair of rusting spiral staircases connect the two floors.
A pair of rusting spiral staircases connect the two floors.
Stalactites are another common feature throughout the bunker.
Stalactites are another common feature throughout the bunker.
The main switchboard.
The main switchboard.

Naval helicopters flew over Dollis Hill on their way to the Greenwich celebrations yesterday. Had their pilots looked down, they might have seen a queue of civilians awaiting a rather special tour of military heritage. The Paddock bunker sits high up on Brook Road, Dollis Hill. You'd never know it was there - the only surface sign is a brick box beside a recent housing estate. But inside is a two-level bunker designed to house Churchill's War Cabinet in the event of a devastating attack on Whitehall. In the event, it barely saw action, receiving just one recorded visit from Churchill and hosting only two meetings. But the bunker offers a rare glimpse of a long-gone age - its damp, decaying interior has been left largely untouched since the war. The chaps who built the housing estate above it in the 1990s were contractually obliged to open the bunker to the public twice a year. Yesterday was one such occasion, with help from the good folk at Subterranea Britannica. A full description and history of the building can be found elsewhere; we'll content ourselves with a photo and video tour.

Here's a short lookaround on the upper level of the bunker.

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Later, the guide tried to fool a visitor into starting up the emergency generator. It is, of course, rusted beyond repair.

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The bunker is usually visitable on Open House Day, so your next chance to visit will be in September.

Last Updated 08 May 2009