Down Street was once part of the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway (now known as the Piccadilly line) and stood between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park. After these two stations expanded its use as a tube station became redundant and it was closed in 1932.
It became active again in 1938 during the build up to WWII, the Railway Executive Committee (REC) used it as a bomb proof HQ to house 40 staff during air raids and bombings over London.
There’s only one entrance/exit to the outside, not great in case of fire.
Ventilation was key, especially so Churchill and other execs could smoke in the underground HQ!
Old signage showing the direction of the trains
A fully functional kitchen used to serve caviar during the war! Not much left now.
The platforms were turned in to corridors as part of the REC HQ, doesn’t look much like a tube station anymore.
Interesting the REC architects decided to paint over the original tile works, apparently the “yellow paint” made it more homely for those working 12 hour shifts underground.
Kelvedon hatch is a cold war bunker built in 1952 to house approx 600 military and civilian personnel in the event of a nuclear strike. The bunker extends to 125 feet underground split over 3 floors hidden under a inconspicuous bungalow.
The audio tour lasts an hour or so and gives you an interesting and at times humorous look at how the bunker operated and what life would have been like in the event of a nuclear disaster.
After entering the bungalow its obvious that you are entering a secure site; metal cages and blast doors greet you as you march down the tunnel into the main heart of the site.
Snake?!? Snake?! SNAAAAKE!
Threats after a nulcear disaster come in many forms. The bunker was set up not just to keep government personnel safe from radiation but also from the civilian muties and raiders which would be after the food and resources after such an event!
Walking around the floors was like a step back in time; all of the technology and equipment was aged but in pristine condition looking like it was straight from the 80s.
LED’s weren’t invented until 1962 therefore the equipment in the bunker had some interesting bulbs. The below was from a radiation detector which monitored the levels outside of the bunker. Each number had its own filament.
Touchscreens save so much space!
This bunker was one of hundreds spread across the country, every district council had at least one nuclear bunker to ensure military and political persons would be safe in the event of a nuclear disaster to ensure that our democratic state could be maintained. Communication between these stations was vital to track the status and damage across the country.
Like every sci-fi and military film ever, these boards are actually used to plot bomb damage across the country. I couldn’t understand how these were easy to view!
Given the limited oxygen and water supply eventual someone would have to leave to assess the outside world and the damage caused. The best thing about radiation is humans can withstand a small amount without any physical effects. These Geiger counters would measure someone’s exposure on a trip outside.
- 25 units= no signs
- 50 units= might feel a little bit ill
- 75 units= maximum human exposure recommended over a lifetime
- 100 units= just a little bit dead
After its decommission in 1992 the bunker now serves as a great resource for film sets. The grudge 4 anyone?
Submarines are cool and no one can deny that! The amount of complexity inside one of these is incredible and a visit to the Chatham Historic dockyard is a great opportunity to see the HMS Ocelot up close. (http://www.thedockyard.co.uk/)
A brief bit of history; the Ocelot was the last submarine commissioned at Chatham dockyard in the 1960s. Capable of carrying 69 men and a payload of 24 torpedoes; the Ocelot was used in clandestine missions until 1991 when it became obsolete against the new fleet of nuclear subs.
Engine Room delviering 6,000 shaft horsepower
It amazes me that anyone knew how to operate this thing with the number of dials, switches, levers and buttons throughout.
Pressure is a big deal underwater, capable of bursting lungs if you try to surface to quickly.
The torpedo room; need to emergency exit? It’ll take 4 hours due to the pressure!
Emergency air valves, you’ll need it…
Apart from the Ocelot there were a number of other sites including the HMS Cavalier and the HMS Gannet.