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.
Later, the guide tried to fool a visitor into starting up the emergency generator. It is, of course, rusted beyond repair.
The bunker is usually visitable on Open House Day, so your next chance to visit will be in September.