Nuclear Bunker B - Nov '14

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UrbanX

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"These underground bunkers were nearly always called "The Hole" by insiders”
– Richard Barrett, Former Worker at Bunker B

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I visited this place a couple of weeks back – Report here.

Since then, not only have I had loads of people ask me to take them, I’ve done a lot more research on the place. I’ve found out about rooms which I never found on my first visit, and read some amazing first hand anecdotes of people that actually spent their lives working down there. I had to go back.

So this report will be way more detailed than the last, but I’ll keep key details off the report - I don’t want it getting sealed straight away by blurting out it’s highly Googlable name.
If you know it - you know it.
If you don’t… research it.

The bunker closed officially in 1990. But was pretty much out of service by 1989 - A notice dated 1989 is still in the main plant room stating that the plant should not be started as there are refrigerant leaks!

It was built in the 50’s, and had the exciting edition of some mean Bloodhound missiles fitted in the 60’s. The mounting bolts are still there today: (although these bolts date from 1977)

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Wiring notice from Jan 1984:
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It was used a few years afterwards for dog training (A surprising number of derelict sites are!) The kennels, and even a small vets still stands silent on the site.

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Dog wiring diagram:
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The main access stairs come off of what looks like a typical RAF guard room. There are turnstiles for counting people in, and out.
(Oh, and for trapping explorers when they try and get ‘in’ the ‘out’…)

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Ammunition safes:
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Rifle racks:
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The bunker is in relatively good condition. The main access corridor is in the worst condition, and gets to around 18” of water. I’ll upload some video of me wading through this without waders so you can have a right laugh at me soon.

The dry end:
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Workshop:
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Commanding Officers bedroom:
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Strongroom:
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I found this installation plate in the hinge reveal of the strong room door, dated September 1984:
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Sewage pump emergency cut off: (probably the most dangerous red button in a missile command bunker)
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(Don’t worry, I listen to enough prog to have Zepplin Authority)
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The bunker is huge.

It has 96 rooms, split over two levels. There is a large stair atrium between the levels which allowed large bits of kit to be craned to the lower level. All of my photos of the electrical switch gear, amplifiers, etc. are in my first report here. The crane is still in position:

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Fire Detection system:
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Installation plate from 1954:
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“The entrance to the bunker was through a guard room; on entering there was a turnstile where we handed over our ID cards. Once through the cage we descended some stairs and proceeded along a tunnel. The tunnel brought you to the upper floor corridor. On the right was a small room where the PBX (telephone switchboard) operator worked, beyond the room was a flight of stairs leading to the floor below.”
– Richard Barrett, Former Worker at Bunker B

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One of the highlights is the PBX (Private Branch Exchange):

These notices read:
"Bomb Call Check List"

"Ask the caller:
When will it explode?
What does it look like?
Where is it?
What type of device is it?
Why are you giving this information?
Who are you?
How many bombs are there?
Why was the bomb planted?"

"Note the following:
Private / public call box
Male / female voice
Old young sounding
Was the speech: Muffled
Disguised
Excited
Slurred (Drunken)
Was the caller using a prepared brief
Any speech impediment or accent"

"Background noise:
Music, traffic, talk, machinery,
Children, typing, train, any other"

"Was the caller:
Conversant with the:
Station Environment
Procedures
Movements"

"Any other information"

"NOBODY LEAVES THIS BUNKER ALIVE"


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If you were wondering how to wire up your own one, here you go:
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There are 3 fans for the condenser water cooler are located in the well - From the well it is possible to walk under the floor of the upper corridor where a 6 foot high cableway runs beneath the corridor for its entire length. They built this place properly.

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The Air Conditioning Room:
This is the room I regret missing on the first visit, but is now the room I regret visiting the most…

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This is a very complex room divided into several areas with walls, ladders, gangways, crawls, all sorts! The room is entered through double doors and down a short flight of steps, when I visited this lower level meant it was about 1” underwater.

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On the right is the control equipment for the air conditioning plant, containing banks and banks of weird looking dials. Opposite is 6 cylinder compressors (2 lots of 3), which compress the refrigerant - highly toxic, and anaesthetic, Methyl Chloride!

To keep this all working there are a lot of oil tanks, and two oil separators. These have failed in the last couple of decades, and have released a large amount of thick oil.

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I was coming down the plant room ladder Aussie style (with my bum to the ladder) and no handed (camera in one hand, torch in the other) when I slipped on a rung covered in oil. In this lovely photo (Credit Nick Catford) it shows a lovely round cover to an oil sump at the bottom of the ladder. Yeah… that’s not there anymore…

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Photo – Nick Catford

I was plunged almost waist deep into the oily pit below. My right leg completely submerged, my left leg slid along the floor. I was stopped only by my crotch on the floor. Although there were two other people in the bunker, they were out of ear shot so I knew I had to pull myself out.

Air Conditioning room as it is today:
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1200 Amps is an awful lot…
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Shaken up, I emerged unscathed. My compact camera and phone which were in my hip pockets were both damaged, but not broken. My P7 torch didn’t even flicker during its temporary dunking.

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Every space in the plant rooms is meticulously filled with gear, it’s like a submarine.

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Control room:

”During my service there [Bunker B] was used to train the Fighter Controllers and Aerospace systems operators - otherwise known to the rest of the radar world as "Scope Dopes". The ASSO's were taught, amongst other things, the rare skill of backwards writing so that they could mark up the clear Perspex tote boards with information”
– Richard Barrett, Former Worker at Bunker B

(apologies for blurry photo, my torch batteries were failing and I couldn't get focus)
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Time to find my way out:
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The Explore:
On this revisit I took Senbell & MrG.

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As it was a revisit I shot the place in a totally different way… on a pocket point & shoot with a flash. I much preferred it to be honest. I got to shoot all of the small details I never had time to shoot with an SLR. It takes around a minute to compose the shot, position the tripod, lock the focus, set it to manual focus, set the timer, wave a torch around etc. It takes seconds with a point and shoot. Meaning you get to be a lot more ‘snap happy’ and take in a lot more of the details.

After the visit we were peckish so decided to grab some lunch. As this was proper deep countryside we were at least 40 minutes from the nearest KFC, so we opted for a local pub.

This turned out to be the poshest pub in the county. With groups of upper class families arriving in their Sunday finery.

You can imagine the look I got when I squelched in: From my boots to my waist was coated in dripping motor oil, and my top half was caked in asbestos dust…

Still, they done a cracking glass of red…

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Thanks for looking.

Video from the two visits:

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqToNhZW-xg[/ame]
 

deklufc

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Fantastic photos and insight into the bunker . Thanks for sharing this one :)
 

dead format

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:)beautiful stuff - I'm always fascinated by these Government/Military places. A great read on my lunch break
 

kevdyas

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Food looks great, the photos and report aren't bad too! ;)

Cheers for sharing, looks an amazing place!
 

mockingbird

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Ive loved both reports of this place sir, you have made each one different an very insightful, nicely put together an some really crisp photography to match, one of my favs from you this year :D
 

outkast

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Nice report, glad to see its still managed to stay fairly free of chaving :)
 

decker

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Intriguing place and very interesting, greats pics.. looks like something from the umbrella corporation.
 

UrbanX

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Cheers guys, I have become a little obessed with the place! Not often am I up for a revisit, but I know I missed so much.

I done most of these with a point & shoot - it takes around 2 mins to set up a shot on a tripod, set the focus with a torch, loc the focus, set off the timer etc. Thats great for the wide angle room shots, but theres no way I had time to do that for every little detail! I much preferred being able to smend longer EXPLORING the place. Opening cupboards, feeling the textures, smelling the smells etc.

I've managed to obtain the floor prints of the place, and overlay them onto Google Earth too, to locate everything. I found another access around halfway along below ground, which I could just not find on the surface!

Looks like something from the umbrella corporation.

Lol, I had to Gogle that, I don't comsume nearly enough popular culture!
 

Mikeymutt

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Amazing set there x..I do love a good Cold War bunker.you have done it proud.
 

odeon master

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really enjoyed looking at this place, and the story about falling into a load of manky water reminds me on entering a cinema boilerhouse down a flight of stairs ending in the exactly the same way !
 

DirtyJigsaw

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fantastic mate. Really really good stuff. Great write up and a great location. Very interesting indeed.
 

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