Navy Map Room was the most important room in combined headquarters
WRENs staffed Derby House.
this bunker played the biggest part of the winning of the Battle
of the Atlantic.
It is the original building where the original battle was fought
and won. It has been reconstructed exactly how it used to be.
like this has to lie low for a minimum of 30 years anyway due to
the Official Secrets Act. A lot of it was taken away by the Home
The desk was one of the first things you see and passes will have
been shown and stamped etc.
There is a room where Sir Max Horton was, now that is absolutely
brilliant. It is absolutely identical to the way it was, and people
love that. And a lot of people do think they are only going down
to see the map room as that is the focal point, you see it on the
old films as well.
central operations royal navy map room was perhaps the most important
room in the combined head quarters. Every scrap of collected information
passed through this room at one time or another and this information
was relayed here both by telephone and messengers who were dispatched
from the radio rooms, the telephone exchange, the teleprinter and
entrance desk at Derby House.
used to go into Derby House, which was Western Approaches, and they
had all the charts with all the convoys and things there you know.
It was horrible to see them taking off ships that had been bombed.
They were all numbered up on the boards. I wouldn’t say that you
became accustomed to it but you sort of prayed for the ones that
were still left, in the hope that they would get through.
the massive wall charts to your right, the position of both convoys
crossing the Atlantic and allied shipping could be plotted and these
charts were constantly being updated. The actual charts displayed
today were printed in 1941, and are the last remaining original
set of wall charts for these head quarters."
projector room was installed for Winston Churchill to watch
secret war footage.
Churchill was here quite a lot actually , he had a direct phoneline
from here to Whitehall, which was his base.
We actually have his secret phonebox down stairs with his phone
guarded outside the box and outside the room for the utmost protection.
of people have said to me I thought I saw Winston Churchill outside
but I thought no, I was imagining it and he was giving the victory
sign, but we thought no that can’t be him, but of course that would
have been him.
got a school room at the very end of the tour, with various artefacts
including Mickey mouse gas masks, there is an Anderson shelter in
there, a bombed out room. It wasn’t hit in the war, had it been
it would have withstood a bomb attack at the time.
to the various rooms and buildings required a signed permit.
strength of the building is in the walls, all sorts of different
thickness up to 11 foot thick, because although Hitler did know
of its existence he didn’t know exactly where it was.
was one of the reasons Liverpool was so badly hit as I say he knew
it was somewhere near the Waterfront so he thought if he bombed
the whole area right down to Bootle he’d get it, but thankfully
sadness from some of them, it brings it all back to them, you know,
war is so futile, and what was it all about, what was it all for.
And there is something on the wall actually which says everything
in one line "They gave their tomorrows for our todays "
the massive table in front of you the situation map would be located.
On this chart enemy locations would be pinpointed. It is perhaps
hard to imagine the removal of just one vessel indicator from this
chart could represent the sinking of a single ship and the loss
of up to one thousand lives.
The work of the plotters cannot be underestimated and shows the
part of the vital role played by women in the headquarters."