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24 September 2018

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Secret Bunker

Author: Nick Allen

Mar/Apr 2014
Page 48   ( 4 pages)

Summary: A stark manifestation of Cold War fears, this hidden bunker outside London was to have housed the Prime Minister in the event of nuclear war.


The long tunnel leads beneath the lush English countryside, secured by steel shutters, bombproof doors and an 18-inch reinforced concrete ceiling, designed not to just keep Russians and rioters out, but workers in.

Today, visitors to Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, smile at the “Secret Nuclear Bunker” road signs directing people to the tourist attraction located just 20 miles from Central London. But for those who lived through the brinkmanship of the Cold War, the facility’s existence would have been little to joke about, had they known.

“I think in our naiveté we thought that, in all probability, the Russians would bomb the bunker and so at least we would be dead,” said landowner Michael Parrish, one of few locals who knew about the site at the time, since the Air Ministry chose his family’s land for its location, and acquired it through eminent domain.

But like most of the local population, the family had little chance of survival if the worst happened: “We had no spot in the bunker,” Parrish said.

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