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Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker, Kelvedon Hatch

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Historic Site
The Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch, in the Borough of Brentwood in the English county of Essex, is a large underground bunker maintained during the cold war as a potential regional government headquarters. Since being decommissioned in 1992, the bunker has been open to the public as a tourist attraction, with a museum focusing on its cold war history.Building and intended purposeThe bunker was first built as an air defence station as part of the RAF ROTOR air defence project. Upon the demise of the ROTOR SOC the remaining Nuclear Reporting Cell and UKWMO elements were incorporated into a Home Office 'Regional Seat of Government' or RSG. The bunker was able to hold various numbers of military and civilian personnel, the numbers changing over the years as the role of the building changed from SOC to RSG and in its later years; 'Regional Government Headquarters' or RGHQ. In the event of a nuclear strike the RSG / RGHQs etc. would be tasked to organise the survival of the population and continue government operations.HistoryThe Kelvedon Hatch bunker was built in 1952 - 53 as part of ROTOR. ROTOR was a programme to improve and harden Britain's air defence network. It was constructed by Peter Lind & Company of London who still trade today. The bunker was a hardened (three level 'R4') Sector Operations Centre (SOC) for RAF Fighter Command. It was to provide command and control of the London Sector of Fighter Command.During the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early into the 1990s, the UK government (Home Office) maintained the bunker as an emergency regional government defence site. Eventually in the early 1990s when nuclear threat was seen as diminished, the bunker was sold back to the farming family who had owned the land in the 1950s. It is now a Cold War museum and retains many of its original ROTOR and RSG/RGHQ features.
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  • I have stopped here three times , the first was when the RAF had it, nothing much has changed, the beds and Doors are the same. Good place to stop a night to get away from it all  more »
  • very interesting if you are interested in the war etc and you don't mind going underground gives you a taste of what it must have been like to go in a tunnel  more »
  • Really interesting visit .... 8 year old son was fascinated with being underground and loved the audio wand descriptions...he recounted parts of it word for word afterwards! Good value for money.  more »
  • Loved this site. Entry is through a bungalow and then down a slope under the hill. When you enter you pick up an audio guide and then work your way through the bunker. The guide is excellent, giving you the feel of the cold war and the impact of a nuclear war. You knew when you listened to this that you would be on your own, and that the rulers of the country would be hiding away in shelters like this. The audio guide had some amusing tongue in cheek words which highlighted how you were a second class citizen.
  • Perfect all weather attraction to visit. Lots to see, the films and the audio guide are very good.
  • If you have never been, or even if you have little interest, its still worth a visit, you will be suprised at what you will learn about MOD and govenment activity, the self guided tour via the wands is very simple and the comentry becomes more entertaining as the tour goes on. Workth a sunday afternoon visit.
  • Totally eccentric museum, fantastic artifacts & chilling old videos about how to prepare for a nuclear attack (hide under a table with a few sandbags and see if you can survive fall out). Visit the actual bunker that was kitted out to house 600 government officials & military while those of us in the hoi polloi fried outside. Definitely worth a visit to check out the secret bunker and the old cold war era computer equipment. Listen out for the slightly wacky yet informative commentary on the visitor handsets too. Recommend.
  • You just won't believe what they built under an Essex farm. It goes down about 4 floors with large rooms and stairs. Lots of original features remain plus recreations. Lots of fun and plenty to see.