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The UK Has An 'Underground City' Which Only Declassified In 2004

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The UK Has An 'Underground City' Which Only Declassified In 2004

An secret underground 'city' in the UK only came to light in the noughties.

Built in the 1950s to comfortably host up to 4,000 government people including the PM and potentially the Royal Family in case of a nuclear attack, the underground fortress sprawls across a surprising 240-acre underneath the town of Corsham, near Bath.

The secret bunker was officially revealed by the Ministry of Defence in December 2004 and was kept a secret for different reasons over time depending on its use.

An announcement on the MoD's website read: "A formerly secret Government underground site near Corsham in Wiltshire, which was a potential relocation site for the Government in the event of a nuclear war, was declassified at the end of 2004."

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A butterfly valve part of the ventilation system. Credit: the MoD
A butterfly valve part of the ventilation system. Credit: the MoD

The Cold War saw the United States and the Soviet Union armed with nuclear weapons in tension for geopolitical influence. The world was facing nuclear devastation with both sides of the conflict threatening to release their nuclear bombs on what became known as the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine.

The PM's private room is premium as it's been painted. Credit: MoD
The PM's private room is premium as it's been painted. Credit: MoD

Dubbed the 'Burlington Bunker' by the Business Insider, the gigantic fortress was officially known by the less exciting name of 'Central Government War Headquarters'; alliteration works well both for Taylor Swift tunes and confidential anti-nuclear gigantic underground buildings.

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The bunker offered everything 4,000 government staff needed to survive for up to 90 days in conditions of thermonuclear war. Government staff family was not allowed in.

The site is so big that residents would have needed these electric buggies to move around. Credit: MoD
The site is so big that residents would have needed these electric buggies to move around. Credit: MoD
The BBC broadcast studio for PM announcements and communications with survivors. Credit: MoD
The BBC broadcast studio for PM announcements and communications with survivors. Credit: MoD

The Human Journey Project wants to 'gain a holistic understanding of the development of the site and the relationship between the different areas and entities through the course of its development'.

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According to the Human Journey Project's website, the Burlington Bunker should be studied to be placed in the wider context: "The study will communicate the findings of the research and assimilate the memories, myths and legends of those who have had a relationship with the Corsham complex."

Unfortunately, the site is not open for visits by the general public. Requests to visit by the public or the press are evaluated on a case by case basis.

You can find more info on the bunker in this document produced by the MOD.

Featured Image Credit: Telephone switchboard is one of the world's biggest of its kind. Credit: the MoD

Topics: War, UK News, Interesting

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