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Secret Underground Cities

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Oxygen Thief

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Secret Underground Cities (Paperback)
by Nick McCamley

# Paperback: 270 pages
# Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd (April 2000)
# Language English
# ISBN: 0850527333


Describes the major, WW2 UK government underground works
SECRET UNDERGROUND CITIES’ is the history of the series of vast underground arsenals, factories and control bunkers built by the British government during the Second World War, and of the new uses found for many of these subterranean cities as nuclear shelters and command centres during the period of post-war, cold-war paranoia.

Many of these underground sites were concentrated in the Corsham area of North Wiltshire, where hundreds of acres of disused stone mines, buried over 100’ below the peaceful rural landscape, were converted at the cost of tens of millions of pounds, into huge and awesome bomb-proof cities.

After an introduction explaining the inter-war military, economic and political factors that influenced the government’s policy on underground protection, the book goes on describe in detail the construction and operation of all the major sites including: (1) CENTRAL AMMUNITION DEPOT CORSHAM (Tunnel Quarry, Monkton Farleigh Quarry, and the Ridge/Eastlays underground complex)

(2) The two-million square foot SPRING QUARRY underground aircraft engine factory at Corsham, and the other smaller but similar sites at DRAKELOW, WARREN ROW, WESTWOOD and DUDLEY

(3) The sinister and secret underground repositories built to house the contents of the National Gallery at MONOD, in the bleak mountains to the North of Ffestiniog, and the deep stone quarry at WESTWOOD in Wiltshire that housed the greatest treasures of the V&A and the British Museum.

(4) The underground headquarters built in BROWNS QUARRY (later known as RAF RUDLOE MANOR) to house the headquarters of No.10 Group, Fighter Command. This later became the hub of the Western sector of the ‘Rotor’ radar system, and later still became of pivotal importance in the government’s system of nuclear war headquarters.

(5) Amongst the other WW2 sites covered are the RAF storage depots at FAULD, HARPUR HILL and CHILMARK as well as the Admiralty and MoS depots at COPENACRE, MONKS PARK, HAYES WOOD (Limpley Stoke) etc.

The final section of the book describes in some detail how, in the 1960’s, the underground factories at Drakelow and Warren Row were converted into Regional Seats of Government for use in event of nuclear war. It also describes how Spring Quarry at Corsham became the National Government War Headquarters, (the fabled city of Burlington), from where the government would launch any retaliatory nuclear attack, and which would become the home of the War Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff Committee, together with some 5,000 Civil Servants.

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