johntwine ex cpl raf police
I was stationed at raf box as a dog handler in 1953/4our guardroom was at the top of the lift shafts 2 lifts, every one who worked below had a Token which they had to ask for before we let them down.whilst on leave my dog escaped and was found in Corsham that ended my leave. trying to find the field my unit had to guard on Globel earth (help) post code will firstname.lastname@example.org will find me
I was in the WRAF in 1951 and worked at RAF Hawthorne as a teleprinter operator in the underground "city". A fascinating place
My father-Gilbert Wood and his partner, Olga Lehman painted murals somewhere on this site. It was early in the '40s and strictly secret,but I remember seeing photos and was aware that it was near Bath.
Gloria McLaren nee Comley
I grew up with this site. My mother, Madge Comley worked in the stores for the Admiralty at the Copenacre Site. She dealt with anything from bars of soap, spare masts for sailing ships through to very "hush hush" parts for more modern ships, subs etc.My father, Harold Comley, went from bing a sheeter employed bt the then "Min. of Works" to Head of quarry safety over the whole ares shown above and more.Ernest Comley, my beloved grandfather, worked underground there for many years.My father helped to construct the nulclear bunker under there and, when told that he would not be allowed to use it in the event of war, was so annoyed - and he had a hell of a temper - that he told me to tell CND about it. I did but whether they already knew about it I do not know.My grandmother, Elsie Comley, lived at Travellers Rest. When my father had to inspect certain disused tunnels annually he would thump the ceilings and we could hear him clearly !If anyone wants further info. please contact on this site.
Jamie, Spring Quarry is a dark, dank old underground quarry, full of asbestos, with danger of rock falls, wet and damp, 100 underground, stuffy air supply, no natural light, and the lights have to stay on otherwise one would be plunged in darkness, etc. Believe me, nobody would want to live there! It was to be used for the ultimate of emergencies.
ive just spent a week in this place,and what place
I used to live about 1/4 of a mile away from where the site is and I knew something was there and that there was some military presence but I didn't think it would be this large. I think that the government should renovate this and use it as housing for people. They could easily put some skylights in to let daylight in.
Dear WANT TO VISIT,The Relocation Site (commonly known as Burlington) is within the boundaries of the MOD military base, JSU Corsham. Although disused, it is still part of the Ministry of Defence and general visits by the public are not authorised (for health and safety concerns). All the entrances into the Relocation site are within the boundaries of JSU Corsham; an MOD base. Therefore, one cannot just walk in off the street and gain access.
want to visit.....
can anyone describe EXACTLY where i can gain access to this site, there are a few posts telling of entrances and i am keen to have a look at it....
MJ12 - Corsham IS near Bath! The so called underground city that you refered to probably are the Corsham quarries, which have been (incorrectly) described as an underground city. In reality, the relocation site is more like a war-time Whitehall. Other Corsham quarries have been used for storage, computer programming, and communications.
Mr IHBDTOT010509 - You most likely entered one of the other sites, as all the entrances into the Relocation site are within the boundaries of the military base, Corsham JSU. Therefore, it is unlikely that you entered the relocation site. There are plenty of other underground quarries in the Wiltshire area (particularly in and around Corsham) that were also used by the government and military. So you MAY have entered one of the other former sections of the quarries in the Wiltshire area. But I doubt you entered the relocation site. MQ
underground city in the UK, near bath in somerset. its supposed to be a secret but if you go anywhere near any of the entrances the military police are on you fairly quick.
i have been down there on the 01/05/09
i know of a enterance that is still completly unblocked ! no gates no locks you can walk strait down there and trust me it is like nothing u have ever seen before i found the entrance completly by accident while riding my motorcross bike around a flat dusty area in the middle of nowhere (wiltshire) then came to this shady tin entrance with steps and at the bottom of these steps were 2 huge iron doors one had fallen of i couldnt see my hand infront of my face at this point so we left and thought we would come explore another day ( today) we picked up a few ridiculasly bright torches n went for a wonder , we didnt have a clue where we were there was some crazy stuff down there as well toilets , HUGE generators . we walked for miles ,infact until are torches almost died then we turned back it was like nothing u have ever seen before ! no we didnt disturb damage or break anything we just enjoyed exploring the place and i feel others should be able to view it
An early statement refers to the site site being a sand stone quarry - actually its limestone - small, but very significant if you live in Bath!
no one important
this is kind of cool iguess
Rob - Burlington has not been replaced. Indeed, thanks to modern nuclear weapons and bunker-busting bombs, the age of the bunker has passed. The Government has only a handfull of bunkers left; the DCMC in Whitehall, PJHQ in Northwood, and one or two military bunkers, but little else. In a nuclear war, if the government had time, they would disperse to remote and safer areas of the country, under a plan called Python. (Indeed, Burlington was originally abandoned, precisely because it could be targetted by nuclear weapons.)
I was in the RAF during the early eighties and remember being sent from my base camp at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire down to RAF Rudloe Manor. We had to climb down a huge flight of stairs with firemen at the top, middle and bottom. OK goiong down but a true test of fitness getting back up with a rifle and a pack full of kit on your back.
Rob...People just "assume" that other bunkers were built to replace the old redundant ones, such as Corsham. But this is simply not the case. Most of the UK bunkers were closed down and sold off by John Major's government in the 1990s. There are very few left. There is the PJHQ at Northwood, the DCMC undeneath Whitehall, and the RAF bunker in High Wycombe (and maybe one or two others), etc. However, even these are vulnerable to attack using modern day bunker busting missiles and guided nuclear warheads. Mark Quested
Was a student at Corsham in the sixties and thought my landlady was kidding when she told me about this underground city, the locals seemed to revel in the mystique of it all, it certainly deserves a documentary programme on TV.
Either should be made into a prison or a public attraction
To suggest that there wouldn't be a modern alternative now is ridiculous. Of course there is, a nuclear attack is no longer the sole fear. Bio, Chemical are both just as likely, just as potentially devastating, and survivable utilizing such sites in a modernized version.You can guarantee one thing; as long as government has a duty to function in a state of war, sites like this exist.That we have seen this one should tell us one thing, that they have upgraded to a bigger and better site.Then, we'll probably see that one when it becomes obsolete also.It's fascinating to see these sites. And it does make me wonder what sites each of us have locally and never know are there. Regional governments have a duty to function also, so I wonder just how many smaller satellite subterranean sites there are around the UK.
I remember doing work around the entrance to this site and wanting to go down, but never got the chance...I think it's pretty cool, useless as a bunker really, but still cool.
Hmm, solve the prison crisis.... turn this plae into one. I'm sure it could hold like up to..... nearly.... 8000 in-mates or something once converted. It'd be really secure also.
i worked there in the 60s it is vast,but i found it quite depressing, in the winter we used to go down in the morning while it was still dark and come up to the dark so never saw much daylight i worked in the stores and later in an office i left when i married
Wow, why isnt this a listed site of National Heritage. A tribute to British Engineering.
why was the caves made?
please say ifthey do tours on this under groundcity
Wonderful.This should be heritage listed. What an amazing part of Cold War History. I love looking back at our past and things like this just amaze me. I mean for the scale of this to be built back then.Stunning.I for one would fly from Australia to see this in person.
Yesterday years when they thought nuclear war was survivable and winnable. Seeing that plutonium has half life of 24 thousand years, then this bunker with 3 months survival tops and only 100ft down, and Corsham being on the nuclear hit list, warheads at the time were in the 20 megaton range. Dont think Corsham would of survived! Now we know about nuclear winters that last for years and they were indeed living in fantasy world)Museum sounds good idea,a tribute to a government folly that we paid for so that they would be safe and no one to govern above)Whoops!
The site was never built for the rich! It was built so that the government could run the country during a nuclear attack. Yes the government were paid a lot but the bunkers were constructed to allow the country to continue to function and not just to save the rich.
Charles - PINDAR (i.e. the MoD / Government bunker underneath the Ministry of Defence building) would also be supplemented in a nuclear war by a central government dispersal plan called PYTHON. Under the Python plan, central government would have been dispersed into smaller groups and situated in safer areas of the country (such as mid or north Wales, and any other areas away of major nuclear targets). The surviving Python groups would merge to form a national government nucleus. The Python groups would have been supported by MoD communications teams, such as the Defence Communications Services Agency (ironically based at JSU Corsham). Thus these mobile Python groups could not be pre-targeted by enemy nuclear missiles. The Corsham relocation site in Spring Quarry become redundant shortly after it was built, due to the development of ICBM missles being able to target it. Therefore, in a nuclear war, central government would be dispersed rather than holed up in one site.
to anser rich adlerit is powered by diesal generaters 3 to be precise
i dont think the goverment will completely decommission this place, mainly because it would probably cost just as mucth to fill it in with concrete as it would to maintain it because they cant just leave it, and as for people saying theyre getting rid of this because the goverment probably have some thing bigger and better, i dont think so, why? because if we got hit by a nuclear bomb there wouldnt be enough supplies to survive that long underground, just look at the amount supplies this place had, three monthes worth! it takes more time than that for a nuclear holocaust to clear, and the bigger it is the easer it will make to find, i could believe the goverment building more of these structures to take its place but smaller, making them harder to find and if one did get found they would probably have plenty left, thats just my opinion. sorry if it come across a bit negative. this is an amazing structure that should be restored and preserved, if this site was restored and preserved it would make a fantastic historical time warp due to the fact its hidden from the modern world.
(In answer to Rich Alder's question), the energy source used was the national grid! i.e. good, old fashioned electricity. However, if the site lost its external power supply (i.e. the national grid), it had its own generators and diesel fuel supplies. It also had its own water supply, water treatment works, water tanks, food, kitchens, sick bay, etc, all the bare necessities required for the site to be self sufficient.
One word... PINDAR. The threat hasn't gone, just the rich and powerfull now have somewhere better to hide!
Rich Adler, the energy source used to heat and power the sites was called THE NATIONAL GRID! In emergency, the sites had diesel generators and diesel fuel. The local rumours of a nuclear reactor were not true.
What energy source is used to power & heat the city? What is its deepest point?
In the know
As a born and bred local of Neston, rumours of this place abounded, as kids we gained access via an entrance not marked on the maps, were fairly quickly 'caught' and given a right dressing down and escorted out, we managed about 60 yards into the complex, as kids though we weren't sure what it was all about.
I have not read all the comments due to time however this site should be opened up to the public and the visitors fees to go to the forces benevolent funds to assist the fallen servicemen and women who have served our country and saved our lives.
Could all of these underground roads lead to some of the biggest southern cities in britian?????
Ben,In the event of a nuke attack the west end and east end lungs would have had the air supply sealed off, the 11,000 volt air purification system would have been activated this invloved the air passing through filters, being water washed along with being cleaned by the 11.000 volt system, no external air would enter the site.
could the city be quickly brought back into use if needed?
I not suprised at all by this. I know of a couple of other underground bunker some in london where I grew up under an importance base there and everyone seems to go on about the replacement. I was living in Cheltenham when the built the new GCHQ doughnut that is roumoured to go down god know how many levels below ground
Paige, There would be an air distribution system taking air from the outside with massive filter banks to remove any contamination in the air. These have ben around for years and can remove 99.9% of particles in the air. They are called HEPA filters. If you are ever in an operating theatre, then they are used in there as well. As a ventilation engineer, I would love to get down there! And also have a really good poke around.....
how much is this place!!! must be THOUSANDS!!!
its absoullyly amazing how big it is is there any other like it
I remember the locality when as a small child I lived with my parents, on the RAF Hawthorn base - my father being employed underground at Rudlow Manor. This article recalls the past for me too.
The following is a quote from Defence News (an MOD publication) from October 2006 "The underground tunnels at Corsham provide an important link to our Cold War history and we are working with English Heritage and Inteq to ensure this important part of our country's heritage is preserved". This should hopefully allay the fears of those who feel this great monumnt to the Cold War may be lost.
The best bit is that the mines are still full of high quality sand stone, but as the MOD is a "Not for profit" part of government it won't be mined.
Thats the poin Andy you don't
Bambang Bayu Adhi
i hope fatima nasiru still life and safety in somewhere out there, and i will take her out from thiss town, i promise and the good will help me soon amien
how do you get in
I wasn't surprised to find that such a place still exists, however I am awed by the sheer scale of the site. Amazing!
Truly disgusting to see how much better protected rich people were during the war but hey nothing changes, if you aint got lots of money you're considered worthless and you fight for your queen and country like sheep.
who nows maybe there is one of these citys right under you house and you nt even now about it
paige from corsham
this is kwl but i have 1 qwestion how do they get air and i relli wonnna go down there !!
Agree with Jim, what a lost asset should be used as a museum. I would pay money to view it. Great for education
Truly fantastic! Thank you BBC , for putting this up. The size of this site is gob-smacking.
i got lossed looking around here on a school trip with the corsham school its amazing and always gets a mention now and again the tv and also its code name was turnstile
Osama Bin Laden
Grreat cave, I have been here now for three years now. And only recently found out my old mate Sadman Insane has been seen hanging about in Iraq.. Bit chilly though. Seen you soon bye
Will this area ever be open to the public? Any chance of an underground tour?
I got stuck in the near by box stone mine system when a friend and i followed a bunch of geology students. I was eleven at the time and remember we got stuck down there for quite a long time (11 hours or so) until eventually we ended up coming out near this mod site. It was a massive adventure and i was too young to be scared. But there was some moments that were quite hairy i remember. We emerged covered from head to toe in mud and clay.
I'm not sure of the date that this happened but i think that was around 1986.
My friend and i ran back to collect our bikes which were left outside one of the cave entrances and left the caver's, but i think they had some explaining to do as to how they ended up coming out near this site. Nuff said...
wow its huge
Like others this brings back memories. This is worth a full documentary and further information as this is only part of the total underground complex in wiltshire which is an important part of our social history,
The locals have known of this for years! Open it up and allow the public to view it - its part of our past history that everybody needs to be aware of! Lets not loose more of our British heritage.
This doesnt surprise me, we have one in Fife in Scotland, it isnt to the same scale as this one but would have housed the Scottish ministers and the head of the forces.
puzzles me, one would need to save the intelligent people & scientists,not the government & royalty
What about showing some of the 40 or so murals painted by Olga Lehman in 1939 to brighten the place up a bit. They are still there, fresh as ever.
I am intrigued as to where the above-ground entrances are to this complex. Is anyone able to provide grid references from the OS map?
thissa so good. I love a lot!
Byron- I don't think its an American thing. Probably it was just more practical to give the 'roads' descriptive and straight talking names. Especially in military terms. I think street names in the US are given names like '51st Street' Because lyrical names would be confusing, and theres just so many streets in a City like New York. US Citys don't have the history of citys like London, where most street names have a story attatched. I recon they were named practically. Churchill Boulevard or something would have been cool though.
Why do most of the "roads" have AMERICAN names?e.g.EAST 1st AVE.etc.or was this secret place built to protect U.S.topbrass over here?
£5 Million for this space, a bargin.
Love to see it have public guided tours and a Museum.
"Doom" should of been made here.
lee harris near wolves
even tho this was built before pre 40s possibley middle of ww2 when construction was started this complex has been all most stiped of most things aka iner walls and showing bear rock this site shouldnt be turned into a mussium the site is run down in certen aka old bakery aka rust that when you get by stripping the inner walls out i think that this site could last anouther 20 years without any body been in there but it would be to far gone to bring back serten areas to the oringinal standerds
but the gverment need shelters and the new ones will be bigger but probley lasting more than 50 year time scall dont for get the 80s where it all really hotted up there all so goning to be new bunkers to withstand bunker busters bombs as well and people of the UK we havent seen nuthing yet as we probley still building them some where ???? we wouldnt even no about them untill they be declasefide in 2060 and even then that will be any bunkers that have been built in the 80s,90s
and by the way a bunker should last 100 years beoucse of raidation it last 35 years befor you can even consider going out side :(
i carnt spell so sorry
An authoritative history of this site is to be found on the rather excellent Subbrit site. This gives a complete history. Fascinating!
Google 'subbrit' or see Subbrits site: www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/
What a brilliant web page. I hope the bunker will be put to good use and some of it will remain open to the public as a museum to show what efforts were put into the preparations for disasters.
why does a bunker need escapes?
We lived above ground and went to work every morning underground. If lifts failed we had to use escape exits
A bit of my past come alive ! I was in RAF in 1950 and spent 18 months at Fighter Command Radar at Box; There was RAF Rudloe Manior, RAF Hawthorn, RN Copenacre, HMS Royal Arthur (where Prince Philip was stationed) CAD Corsham (the Army's Central Ammunition Depot). We went in & out in lifts - had someone injured one day and had to saw handles off stretcher to get lift doors to close. Emergency exits were stairs up vast shafts. We knew we were only part of a huge complex with railways ex Box Tunnel, and that it was supposedly the Emergency Gov't HQ if Cold war hotted up.
What a brilliant setting for movies and or dungeon games and the like.
I would also like to live there....Kewl
Ahh yet again more misinformation Lloyd and Jon c like a lot of posts on this site, why cant people get their facts right or just dont post items
what is the phone number of the esate agent who has this for sale
I wish they would open this up to the public,it would make a great Museum!
I find this facinating- i'd like to see if I could hack living in a bunker with a bunch of people and try to be self sufficient.
The MOD have put it up for sale in a private finace set up. it costs £5 million pounds to buy this place and if i won £120 million on euro millions i would deffo spend it on this place and turn it into a museam. any millioners in here lol
Incredible,Wiltshire's own "middle earth".Just for the cold war,crisis, what crisis!!!!.
There will be a segment on Blue peter this month or next about the burlington underground city!
Gary K. Rogers, PE, PhD
A similar bunker existed at the Greenbrier Hotel,White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, USA. Facinating tour and bit of history. Same similar story. End of cold war and growing cost of maintaining dated infrastructure that would be of limited value today. Tis worth preserving though.
I am interested in living in a similar situation I can build, sew, draw, and do many other crafts, I have a 16 year old daughter. she and I wish to live an alternative life style. I used to live in a commune many years ago in Canada. I would like to team up with like minded people to create a similar lifestyle anywhere.
Maybe they could turn it in to offices or something, there is something strangley depressing about the whole thing that would suit the BBC "down to the ground"
If this is obsolete, just think about what they have now! I'd be surprised if there isnt something huge under every country of the world.
I was fortunate enough to meet Nick McCamley and spend many weekends helping him and a team of volunteers cleaning up Monkton Farleigh before it opened as a muesum - unfortunately short-lived.
It was a great adventure to explore the seeming endless tunnels, one of which links to a loading platform next to the Bath-Chippenham main line. Now sealed up and used by a private security firm.
I grew up in the "shadow" of these underground cities and still would like to explore more. If Burlington opens in the future I'll be one of the first in the queue!
Congrats. on the excellent site!
i am an american and never been touched by war on my homeland.this is one step in understanding the mindset of people who have.
This is amazing its truley is a just cant beilive it. Why doesnt the government keep this place running for a secret research center? If i won the lotto i would bye this place how much does it cost anyway? I love it. A would run a secret army down her its just great.
i look website i, shocked never seen my life i love sercet areas very intersting,why not open like mueseum make help riase money fund improve keep history keep all why looking good history war time and i would like visit underground ? with leader teams please more information when open i can come visit here looking foward love justin from cardiff
No Mel they didnt.
Mel - Corsham
Did the bbc make a tv programme on this? If so does anyone know what it was called
i think this is amazing, i would be will to pay admission to see it. looks amazing. all that history that no one knew about just there. kinda of like a modern chizle hurst caves. wicked, open it up so i can come and have a look.
Matthew (plymouth 19)
why cant this be open to the public,afterall stonehenge did and then they put up fences to protect the sight from those who wanted to chip the stone for keepsake and those who scratch graffiti.if the trust was to get involved all of this could be done there and many other sites with fencing and a tour guide.with many a plaque out there could be donated to its own museum.
i agree wiht Itchyballlss
this should be opened as museum of our past. the war cabinate office of ww2 is open therefore this should be too!
for the attn of Tony Mays...might be worth reading the main page for this site - interesting bit by a compatriot (i presume) of yours...
Lt Col (Ret) James A. Wadell
Most interesting! This is very much like a site that was built in West Virginia in the US for much the same reason - continuation of government operations while under nuclear attack. The site in the US was also top secret, and its existance unknown to the general public until only recently. I hope the UK site is preserved and maintained. It is a wonderful artifact of some very dangerous and difficult times.
Ooh, I sense enormous potential for some kind of computer game: a kind of Splinter Cell crossed with Silent Hill crossed with Lara Croft stylee game!
A fantastic study of a subject that has always fascinated me. Another great BBC web site. Thank God this never had to be used for real!
It could be opened as a museum if the money was found to fund it, there are plenty of sites like this that are open to the public health & safety issues can be worked out public liability insurance same as any underground mine / quarry museum i expect.
You can rest assured that it will never be open as any form of museum - just think of the Health & Safety issues alone, what cost public liability insurance!
I was stationed in Rudloe (near Corsham)until recently and was fascinated by all the underground tunnels etc. I bought a book (still available from Amazon)called Secret Underground Cities by N J McCamley, which will certainly be of interest to anyone who lives or lived in this great part of the country. It gives a detailed account of Tunnel and Spring Quarries, great stuff. Highly recommended.
I agree with Jon C - but just look at the Millenium Dome, now that was a good use of a few million pounds of tax payers money, could have updated this place and filled it with a few thousand council tennants!!
Tony Mays, at least we dont have george bush over here. And if it wasnt for us you would not even be over there.
Tony Mays, just shows the attitude and aptitude of you, NORAD etc etc ring a bell, now where is that place, oh yes AMERICA. why not go and invade IRAN ohh hold on, no oil
I have spend years investigating the Corsham Ammunition Depots and I have been in most of them! I think it's a great idea to open Spring quarry as a piece of history but it is an issue of cost. It costs over a million pounds a year just to light it. I certainly would not fancy paying the heating bill! Since the Air Conditioning plant has been shut down it has become very damp in most places, with some areas completely flooded. Everything is rusting and rotting away. Some of the smaller sites have been put to good use but Spring Quarry and Tunnel Quarry are just to big. Perhaps it would make sense to open up a very small area. However I can see it being a Health and Safety nightmare. There is a lot of asbestos down there. These sites have been neglected for years, they cost many millions of pounds just to heat and light. They are massive sites. Even the goverment cant offord to look after them...great shame. They dont even offer much protection with todays bunker busting bombs.
Wales did have s similar sort of site - see Trecwn in Pembrokeshire
do these caves link up with the eastlays caves i use to work in these caves and wondered if they where once linked
This place looks like the most miserable depressing place to live in the whole world. It's kind of reassuring to see that in the event of a nuclear war the oligarchs that let us get bombed would be deprived of natural light and anything resembling comfort! Clearly they'd be better off dead - just like the moribund population.
What a wonderful facility this would be if preserved, as it is I expect the usual "Travelling" people will gain entry and gut it, and what cannot be stolen will be destroyed.
This should be preserved for the public, after all we paid for it !
Leave it to those dumb britts to do something so paranoid. You idiots need to learn to live like real people. Like Americans!
Looking at these pictures I feel they spent an awful lot of money for a place with no windows?! Was this a money saving exercise or was this just overlooked in the building plans.
why does a bunker need escapes?
martin (east anglia)
lots has been said about who worked here, but what about the people that built it? Anybody know anything about what the construction
workers etc thought they were putting together ? The escalators, plant,comms etc must have raised some questions.
I lived at Neston around 1966 and even as kids we heard stories about something underground around
It would be a travesty if this place were lost. We should be very aware of the events and the legacy of the cold war and it is an era of history being neglected simply because it is so recent. It would make a superb museum and would undoubtedly earn its keep, something it has never done so far! Open enough of it to show what it was like and to house a national cold war exhibition and rent out storage space in other parts on a commercial basis to generate funds. For heaven's sake keep the developers away! There's another superb example of the period at Hack Green, near Nantwich in Cheshire, where the old communications bunker is now a fascinating museum. See www.hackgreen.co.uk
Burlington doesn't have a "raunch house" style entrance as the Regional Government bunker in Fife as well as many other bunkers around the UK such as Kelvedon Hatch, these bunkers were all built to a similar design however Burlington wasn't built, they just converted the existing stone quarry area, the entrance are old stone quarry shafts.
Greed fear and ignorance. A perfect example of state paranoia...i would put the government, armed forces, the b.b.c and corporation chiefs down this rancid hole and fill it up with concrete.
There is already another bunker open to the public, and unsurprisingly is called "the secret bunker", I think its in the north or Scotland. it is built to the same design as Burlinton, complete with the same "raunch house" style secret entrance gaurd room.
As mentioned before up until 1980 there was no link between Southwest control/6SU/PNCC, and Burlington/New works/Site 3.
The site was never operational and after 1980 people did pass from New works into Tunnel quarry, ammuntion was still stored in Tunnel up until 1962 it was finally closed in 1966, Monkton farliegh is used by Wansdyke security, Eastlays is used by Octavian for wine storage.
The entrance near Box Hill tunnel wasn't part of the Burlington bunker. This entrance served an underground loading platform, part of the central ammunition depot which handel much of the ammunition for WW2. The ammunition depot, Tunnel Quarry does connect to the northern edge of Burlington but in the bunkers opporational days security would have been tight and no one would have passed between Burlington and Tunnel Quarry. Tunnel Quarry along with the other sub-depots in Monkton Farleigh, Gastard and Neston haven't been used since the war ended. There are a few inaccuracies in Peter Hennessey's book. Nick McCamley's Cold War Secret Nuclear Bunkers (ISBN: 085052945X) is a better source of info although as this was written before the bunker declassification in Dec 2004 even this book doesn't have a complete history.
Jon the entrance you are on about has nothing at all to do with Burlington/Site 3, it is at the corsham end of Box tunnel and was one of the entrance's to the Corsham Ammunition Depot which does have two platforms which were used for the offloading of ammo that was stored underground not for passengers.
Until 1980 there was no link between Southwest control/6SU/PNCC, and Burlington/Site 3,it was only when an access route was cut through a pillar and a small roadway was made that you could get from PNCC into Burlington/ Site 3 and then onto Spring Quarry, also there is no link from inside Box tunnel into Burlington.
The only reason most of the service personnel would have gone into the tunnel areas was when the fire alarms went off inside their work area and then they would have followed the fire exit signs to the surface, self rescuers are a requirement underground not breathing apparatus.
Area 10-13 never had any NATO civil agencies installed there, it might have been proposed but no staff were ever located at Site 3 and the areas never had any office equipment installed.
One last thing, to say that the site almost reach's Colerne, Batheaston and Marshfield is quite preposterous.
For those unaware of the name Burlington, the bunker was at various times also known as Stockwell and Turnstile. There is plenty more info about the place in "The Secret State" by Peter Hennessy (ISBN 0-14-100835-0), along with information on the Nation's war planning during the height of the cold war.
In addition to the entrances shown on the map, there was also another entrance near Box Hill tunnel, where a train from London could enter and offload passengers at an underground railway station.
As I say, don't know the name Burlington. As I was only there for a short time in the 70's on detachment from elsewhere. Names did not crop up much, except unit names/locations (top-side names normally). I do remember the door leaving our underground site, lead into the tunnel and there where railway lines. I entered the complex (my place of work) from the old RAF Rudloe Manor main site down a lift, which ever underground site that corresponds with on the map?. If you showed an overview map of 'top-side' locations, that would help.Some of the pictures on the various web sites look familiar, but such a long time ago.Another thing, people must recognise is that most servicemen/women did not get to venture into the greater complex (tunnels) at all during up to three year postings in some cases.They just had access to their own areas that came with its own access/entrances 'top-side'. Remember, we worked down there, but lived 'top-side'. Most would be as unaware of the vastness of the complex as your readers. Underground training was given by RAF Firemen, prior to being let into the underground areas. No training, no entry. To most service people, it held no great mystery, it was a secure place of work, a communication complex out of the way of potential international attack (Cold War).Not at all exotic in reality.
The Breathing Apparatus Steve describes is a legal requirement, they must be warn in all underground quarries and mines. Are you sure it was Burlington you went in to Steve as Burlington is just a small (and very secure) part of a huge complex of tunnels - Spring Quarry, Tunnel Quarry and Browns quarry which are all connected - this would have all been accessible from the "secure area" (PNCC/South West Control).
Absolutely unbelievable!!!I think I am really niave but I had no idea we had anything like this in UK.Where in Wales are there sites like this? I agree that they should be preserved as museums and opened to the public.
Well I seem to be the only one who's said they have been down there. I don't know the Burlington name, but I was stationed for a short while at RAF Rudloe Manor (Hawthorn Centre). One day a Sergeant asked me if I wanted to check some emergency phones (I was a serviceman in telecoms). I said yes and we went out of the secure area into the tunnels to check out the phones. The interesting thing was, no one and I mean no one was allowed into the tunnels without a BA (Breathing Apparatus)ready in case of fire. We (all staff underground) had to have a small brass bar with a number stamped into it, to identify us if a fire swept through the complex. When we went along the tunnels, we had very powerful torches as I don't remember lights being on and it was June on a hot summers day, but it was very cold all the time down there.
I was brought up and live about 5 miles from this site, there was always rumours at school about an underground town where royalty and pm's etc would go in the case of a nuclear attack. I know where some of the outlets come out but it would be great to see the scale of this above ground. I think the public should be able to visit it, it would be really interesting for adults and kids in local schools as an education.
So if there is any attack, i know where i'm headed!!
so,how does the general public get to look around? this should be openend up to the general public-i want to have a look around!!!
It would be a great shame if this facility could not be opened up as a tourist attraction. It is very much a part of our history, and something that would surely draw a lot of genuine interest. So much public money was spent on this, it would be nice if we could explore it in person.
i think it is amazing that there is a nuclear bunker so near swindon and so big i never knew that there was one
I was in the UK with the USAF for many years I have heard of the place but never follow thru. now I wish i had i fabulous, Is it open to the public if not it should its great
It would be interesting to see the Burlington site map overlaid onto the surface map - we would then have a real impression of the size!
Also, given that this site is no longer in use, can we assume that there is another site for "Tony & Cherie" to slip into should Al Quada detonate a dirty bomb?
For those interested there never was and certainly is not any "Rose and Crown" pub or any pub down there of any kind. The nearest you get to a pub is a couple of old filter coffee machines in the canteen - never used. Where someone got the idea of a pub I have no idea but it is a complete fabrication - it never existed. Also for those of you who think that 4000 civil servants AND THEIR FAMILIES would have been down there think again. Many of the staff would have been military and no-one would have had their families with them except perhaps the PM IF he was ever to be based there.
Surley there has to be some national heritage to protect this place, considering the importance of it during the cold war, its an outstanding peice of modern history. The value of this to the area as a museum would be invaluable. Please don't let it have the same fate as the old Monkton Farley underground site!
As Bob said in a previous comment Burlington is a massive part of British history, unfortunatly it is being sold off to a private investor who will no doubt gut it and destory all of the sites characteristics and history. There is a full timeline of the history of burlington on my website... http://www.chocolatechipdesign.co.uk/nettleden/burlington/timeline.shtml (if the BBC will allow me to post the link).
I hope that the public are given access to this to see in person what was hidden for so many years
So wheres the Mansfield entrance?
I hope it is possible to preserve this place for people to visit. Due to the secrecy surrounding such places it is often many years if ever, before the stories surrounding them can be told. I hope that it will be possible that a trust will be allowed to take over Burlington, and allow visits by the public.
Places like this are as much a part of our history as any medieval castle is. This modern fortification should be preserved for future generations to visit and help them to understand an important part of both British and World history. I am sure this wont be popular with the likes of the "peace protestors" who I'm sure would rather see it torn apart and forgotten about. Well it happened, it is here, the people of this country paid for it to be built. I think we should argue strongly for the preservation of this place as a cold war museum. This fascinating period of history has much left to tell, and I for one would love to know more!
I'd also love to have the chance to visit this place myself.
The general population have no idea how much of this stuff is around them and how much money has been spent. A little research and visiting a few websites will show just how much is around. Google the web and you will find a hardy bunch of underground explorers.
The original Corsham Ammo Depot (CAD) had cost £4.5M by 1943 in order to store 300,000 tons of explosives. However Corsham was more than just an ammo store - it had aircraft and weapons factories as well. The total cost during WWII was about £20M (in 1945 money I think - £13M was just for the Bristol engine factory). Goodness knows how much was then spent during the Cold War on Burlington (though as it ended up as the seat of central government, a major communications and computing centre and at one point had nearby Rudloe Manor as the RAF's southern sector radar HQ during ROTOR days, we can assume that "many millions" isn't far off!). Its also worth bearing in mind that during the Cold War major expenditure on large projects could be rendered obsolete in remarkably short timescales due to advances in technology. The ROTOR radar system cost millions in the late 40s/early 50s but was obsoleted by supersonic atom bombers and then ICBMs by 1958.
For lots more info on Corsham and lots of the other wartime underground facilities, check out "Secret Underground Cities" by NJ McCamley, ISBN 0-85052-733-3.
I'd just like to point out that recently declassified Government files have revealed that during the years 1961-1965, Areas 10 and 13 of BURLINGTON were not just offices. They were the location of the NATO Civil Agencies protected wartime Headquarters - codename WELLBRIGHT. The agencies concerned were the Nato Oil Executive Board and the Defence Shipping Executive Board. The siting of WELLBRIGHT at BURLINGTON caused no end of diplomatic problems for the UK Government, as many Government officials were opposed to locating 'foreigners' (NATO Civil Agency representatives) in the UK Central Government wartime Headquarters.
This embarrasing situation was nearly resolved by relocating WELLBRIGHT to a secure underground site in Wales, but for some unknown reason this plan was abandoned and the NATO HQ remained at BURLINGTON.
So where's the Rose and Crown then?
In a nutshell... Burlington started life as an underground Quarry for the local sandstone called known as Bath Stone. The quarry, all underground, is a series of tunnels (or roads) with cells leading of theses roads (a bit like rooms off a coridor, or cells in a prison). The mined parts of the quarry proved ideal to be used as wartime bunkers (hence the vast majority of government areas).
Burlington would have been used as the cold war bunker for 'essential persons' during a nuclear holocaust.
The site is massive, and covers an area from Corsham to almost Batheaston, and then north to Colerne and possibly as far as Marshfield. It is big!
fascinating - how much did trhis cost to build? How many others are there? And what else could have been done with this money?
Very interesting....but hardly anything that explains what it all means!