A Corsham bunker fit for a Queen . . . if Britain had come under nuclear attack
New research and now a new book by Nick Catford shows that if there had been a nuclear attack on Britain in the ’50s or ’60s the Queen would have been taken to an underground bunker at Corsham
Over the years, there has been masses of speculation about what would have happened to the Queen and the rest of the royal family if Britain had come under nuclear attack during the Cold War.
Research for a new book has now revealed that they would almost certainly have come to Corsham. They would have passed the danger period in a fantastic underground bunker on Westwells Road in a suite of rooms, one of which has a reinforced concrete ceiling and where its butler's bells are now lying in a state of decay. With them would have been the war cabinet and a small army of selected civil servants.
At the height of the Cold War in 1955 British Prime Minister Anthony Eden gave approval for the construction of an out-of-London, bomb and radiation proof bunker.
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The bunker would be a secret alternative central government war HQ 100 miles to the west of London.
The site chosen was on the outskirts of Corsham. In the event of a nuclear war it was from there that the war cabinet, chiefs of staff and 4,000 selected civil servants would have guided the country through the aftermath of nuclear war. It would also have been from there than any decision to take retaliatory action would have been taken.
For half a century the Corsham bunker was the most secret site in the country.
Beneath a seemingly innocuous yard on Westwells Road in Corsham, signposted as a PSA distribution depot there lay hidden a subterranean Whitehall in microcosm.
When the site was unexpectedly declassified in 2004 the few visitors allowed in were astounded to find a most fantastic collection of facilities including 400 typewriters, 700 teleprinters as well as abandoned kitchens and catering equipment.
Now the story of Burlington: the Central Government War HQ is told by cameraman and subterranean photographer Nick Catford in his new book.
Burlington has been published by Folly Books Ltd of Monkton Farleigh near Bath at £24.99.
Nick sets the scene in an introductory chapter which gives a comprehensive history of the Cold War in relation to the many subterranean bunkers that are now its legacy. This is followed, chapter by chapter, by detailed plans of each of the 22 areas which the bunker contains along with an authoritative text, masses of photographs and comprehensive captions.
The publishers say that research utilising the Freedom of Information Act carried out in preparation for Nick's book has thrown up convincing evidence that the Queen and her family along with a few support staff were destined to spend the danger period in this bunker of all bunkers.