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Report (Permission Visit) Devizes Cold War Bunker, Wiltshire - September 2014

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Bertie Bollockbrains, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    The library in Devizes was built in 1968 and opened on the 27th November of that year, but not many people know that at the same time that the library was built, a secret bunker was also constructed directly underneath the library for the purposes of holding the Borough Council in the event of a Russian strike.



    The Visit: My first attempt at a permission visit and surprisingly easy. I just went and asked to have a look and to my surprise they guided me around there and then. But I would not advise people to follow me, as the bunker today is used as offices and storage space for the library above and I sense that I only got in as I was first to ask in years. I don't think they would appreciate a regular flow of people turning up.

    The bunker complex is sizeable and covers an area matching the whole footprint of the library above. Air filters, fuel and water tanks, chemical toilets, a kitchen, original maps and signage can all be seen in immaculate condition.

    For the purpose of this report I will only publish photos showing close-up detail and not whole room shots - as I said earlier the bunker is today used as offices and storage space and best not be showing all that.

    Allegedly there is a second bunker built at the same time to host the Kennet District Council. I am still researching this, but is rumoured to be at Browfort on the Bath Road. Anybody with further info please PM me. Thanks.

    Photos:

    The Devizes Library - a horrible ugly building. Please don't think that Devizes is represented by this ugly monstrosity. Devizes really is a delightful historic market town and well worth a visit - honest (check out the Wadworth's Brewery or the Caen Hill locks flight for touristy things to do)

    [​IMG]

    Inside the bunker - entrance hall

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    Original signage

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    The bathroom

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    Chemical toilets

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    Handrinse Unit with instructions

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    [​IMG]

    Many air filter units can be found around the bunker

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Water and fuel tanks

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    Original maps (it extends behind the bookshelf showing all the way to Kent)

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    Escape Hatch

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking :D
     
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  2. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Thanks Bertie ! Been aware of this for a while but this is the first report I think I've seen. Cheers.
     
  3. Maniac

    Maniac rebmeM LD82
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    That's great. It's amazing how many of these smaller bunkers exist, I know the council offices near me has one, but they aren't too keen on a visit despite me pestering them many times over the years. I might write another letter as it's been a couple of years since I last enquired and got told no.
     
  4. The_Raw

    The_Raw 28DL Regular User
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    Pretty interesting that, good to know the councillors had the safety of their community in mind when they built this :rolleyes:
     
  5. 1nk4

    1nk4 28DL Regular User
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    very nice, cheers!
     
  6. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    Seems the councillors of Devizes had a hugely overblown sense of their own importance - I am pretty sure that the Russian Generals in Moscow never had a missile targeted specifically at Devizes Borough Council.

    I wonder if the crapness of the library building is because the budget was wasted on the bunker below. Seems even in the 1960s councils were taking your money and wasting it
     
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  7. A man called Martyn

    A man called Martyn cultural theorist
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    Very nice to see how well preserved it is. Russian Generals may have being more interested in the V Bomber dispersal bases in the county, than the threat posed by the councillors of Devizes.
     
  8. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    Interesting that mate i reckon there's plenty of these around the country
     
  9. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    A little research goes a long way. Allow me to make some counter-quotes from Four Minute Warning by Bob Clarke...

    "Each County Council was obliged to maintain a standby protected site in case the main was destroyed or incapacitated for long periods. ...The Wiltshire county standby is located under the library..."

    The bunker had nothing to do with the councillors of Devizes, the bunker wasn't even for them.

    The crapness was deliberate...

    "...if the building collapsed the weight of the debris would pose little threat to the bunker below."
     
  10. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    Many thanks to OT for the clarification - you are a wealth of knowledge and it's very impressive. :Not Worthy

    My information came from an online local news website and that is where the quote I put in the history came from. Your source is much more trustworthy.
     
  11. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    Feeling very silly now.
    Posted this thinking it was built for the local Borough Council. My source was an online local newspaper article featuring quotes from people who work at the library itself, local veteran reporters and local historians. Having just reviewed OT source, I now know this to be wrong and that this was built for Wiltshire County Council. The lesson here is not to believe the newspapers even if they are interviewing people who should know better!
     
  12. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    Nice one for sharing this. Interesting read too. Surprising how well prepared the country was for nuclear annihilation (to a degree) and good to see how much still exists.
     
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