Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cold War Colossus

Air Vents
Telephone Exchange
P.A Systems valve amplifier
The BBC Broadcast...........all is well
Prime Ministers Bathroom

The Burlington Bunker was also known as Site 3, Stockwell, Subterfuge, Turnstile and Hawthorn Central Govenment War Headquarters. Burlington was built in 1956 and finished in 1961. The simple purpose of this place was to house The British Govenment in the event of a Nuclear War. The Bunker could accomodate up to 4,000 Government ministers, Military, Intelligence and Security bods, plus support staff. Definitely not for Joe Public. For us it was time to paint the windows white and lean the doors up against the wall (see Protect and Survive or The 1984 BBC Drama doc Threads).

Burlington was between 60 and 130 feet below ground and was 1km long and 200 metres across. To get round this underground labyrinth there was a fleet of electric buggies. At the time of impending Crisis/Nuclear Attack, 4,000 essential workers would assemble at a Check Point. This Check Point was Warminster and from there a fleet of army vehicles would have to transport the staff to the Burlington site. The problem was that it was believed the Soviets had targeted Burlington so even though it was blast proof, it could not have withstood a direct hit from an ICBM. So the bunker was pretty much obsolete not long after it was built.

The Burlington Bunker is now up for sale. With the size and the scale of the place the chance of it ever being open to the public is very slim which is a great shame.
© Crown Copyright: images reproduced with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.


  1. Fantastic, Keith !

    I might make an offer for this site; that bathroom is slightly better equipped than my own, and definitely more modern.

    Can't see the Crown objecting to payment via postal order.

  2. I do not think they would object at all. Thats £1.50 to you sir. Don't forget to keep the electric buggies on charge.

  3. Finally! A proper FO post to make me smile! Cheers Keith.. ;)

  4. boggles the mind... who will buy it - why not social housing? prison service?


    anyone seen 'a boy & his dog'? or perhaps something more ballardian...

    can only think in terms of dystopia. sorry.

  5. Ideally some hauntologically-minded rich person can take up the challenge and open it up for use for tours, theatre performances, artists. Crossing fingers but amazing to see the pictures.