Visiting the Broadway Tower Nuclear Bunker

In Military History

On the first sunny day in what seemed like months I managed to escape to the country, but rather than going for a stroll in the fresh spring air, enjoy the blue sky and watch deer grazing on the side of a hill, I decided it would make sense to go underground. 15 feet underground. Into a nuclear bunker.


The Broadway Tower nuclear bunker to be precise. Built in 1959 and finally decommissioned in 1991, the bunker was built for the Royal Observer Corps - to analyze the effects of a potential nuclear attack - reporting on radiation, blast strength, fallout and triangulating ground zero etc.


As I clambered down the 15ft ladder into the bunker I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I didn't imagine was just how basic and cramped the quarters were for the four men or women who would have to remain inside the bunker for up to 3 weeks following a nuclear attack.


Nonetheless, it was a fascinating experience (not recommended for the claustrophobic however) - and here are a smattering of photos... taken on my phone, so sorry about the rather ropey quality!


 


Clambering down the ladder into the bunker - note the Broadway Tower in the background!


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 Draughts. Plus the radio for reporting findings following a nuclear blast. I suspect it wasn't that well thought through though as it seems a member of the team had to leave the security of the bunker to raise the aerial.


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Time for a snooze? Snuggle up though, two beds between four...


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Mmm rations. Usually eaten cold as the cookers made the air foul.


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That is it - I am standing pressed up against one wall, looking at the other wall. Not exactly spacious.


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Still, when the world is going to hell above you, breakout the tea, the stiff upper lip and have a game of darts. Sure to cheer up the gloomiest of moments!


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There were hundreds of these posts across the country, all manned by volunteers. Wikipedia has a useful list of the sites. While the brilliant Subterranea Britannica has a bit more information. And a bit more about the Broadway Tower site. And if you fancy visiting the site, pop on here - the views from the Tower are spectacular! If you want to tour the bunker though, you should probably ring ahead, tours are not always running.

Post Comments

CMB posted on 4 Mar 2014 01:24:00
Post-apocalyptic comfort.
I\'m sure you\'ve seen the set-up we had in the States for Congress, in the Greenbriar. But it got too well-known, so their disaster quarters were moved elsewhere.
I remember watching a film (it\'s on youtube) from the 1950s about fallout. They suggested putting a dinner plate outside your door, and checking it every fifteen minutes for flakes. If there was significant accumulation, you were supposed to head for your bunker.
GI Gene posted on 3 Mar 2014 19:53:00
Did it have a loo?

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