Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A new York tourist attraction

Ha . The Yorkshire Doo-da is now old hat. Next week sees the opening of Acomb's Nuclear Bunker. Only decommissioned in 1991, this bunker was run by the Royal Observer Corps to monitor nuclear fall-out if the bomb was dropped. It was the hub for a number of smaller stations which would have sent the information back to Acomb for collation. They were only supposed to survive for about two weeks.

I worked for a short time in the now demolished Shelley House, and the bunker was in the car park. My colleagues weren't impressed by the bunker as it leaked; this was only 4 years after its decommission, mind. But the thing was really in a state due to the fact that British Telecom had ripped out all the telecommunications - they did much the same to Bletchley Park, btw. There were wires all over the place, plaster gouged out, and it looked gutted.

But last year, I went on a tour round the bunker with YAYAS, a local history group, and the place had substantially been restored. It was a joy to look round it. It wasn't completely finished, as they were still getting maps and old equipment together, but it gave a good idea of how it would have looked. There's now even disabled access, which I think is great. The original way is down a steep flight of stairs.

I'm glad some these Cold War buildings are being preserved; they belong to a particular, and very fascinating, era.


At 11:48 am BST, Blogger Diane said...

Oh, I might go and visit that nuclear bunker. I love anything like that. One of my favourite places is Dover Castle, which has an entire underground security bunker.

At 12:52 pm BST, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

Beware, it seems you have to book it in advance at Clifford's Tower; my first link gives details. The bunker isn't too far out of town though.

At 11:31 pm BST, Blogger Martyn said...

It looks dead interesting. I used to be terrified of the whole nuclear marble starting rolling when I was a kid. I watched Threads when I was about 9/10 and I still remember it and get chills !

At 7:47 am BST, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

I was a bit older when Threads was on, and I deliberately opted not to watch it. I was a child when the Cold War was at its height in the 1960s (though too young to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis itself, forutnately), so already had too good an idea about it.

When reporting about the Acomb Bunker, on Calendar they showed a clip of that hopeful film telling civilians what to do in case of a nuclear attack:
'If caught in the open air fall to the ground'
My reply: 'Er, no, you might as well stay standing, hope you're close enough to the epicentre to get zapped outright, and be grateful you won't be around for the aftermath'
Just looking on the bright side ;-)

At 4:10 pm BST, Blogger Martyn said...

We've booked a place on a tour for next week. We were warned that the introductory film contains some information about radiation sickness and the effects of the blast etc which we might find upsetting :-0


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