A rare visit from me in the Military section, in fact wasn't sure to post here or in the underground
This was a opportunity I had to jump on quickly after seeing a report elsewhere and gathering that demolition was about to start. After all, its not every day you can explore a former 1950's nuclear bunker.
I arrived after dark to help avoid security - inside was pitch black anyway. After 10 minutes I heard voices and met another couple of explorers - James and Joe - whose extra lighting meant a big improvement to some of my shots. Much appreciated!!
Here is some background info on the site, most of it taken from an article in the Yorkshire Evening Post from Nick Catford, author of the book Cold War Bunkers.
Officially known as the Leeds War Room Region 2.
The bunker was one of 13 built in the 1950s as the fear of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union gripped the West.
In the event of war the bunker would have housed a cabinet minister acting as an emergency Regional Commissioner and it was he who would have been responsible for directing the strategic response to air raids across the region.
Designed to withstand the force of a 500lb medium capacity bomb, the bunkerâ€™s occupants would have reported to a central Government War Room in London.
It was equipped with a two-floor operations room and stations to house a small army of civil servants. There was a hospital, telephone exchange and male and female dormitories.
An air filtration plant strained and filtered out radioactive contamination, ensuring the bunkerâ€™s occupants were protected from deadly fallout dust.
A key role in the Leeds bunker would have been played by those responsible for keeping communications up and running. The war room needed to keep in contact with a host of smaller bunkers that would be feeding them information on bomb drops and fallout patterns.
To that end the bunker was equipped with a telephone exchange that was wired into a secret underground network running all over the country that had been built by the General Post Office (the predecessor to British Telecom) after the Second World War.
The development of the hydrogen bomb â€“ which was 1,000 times as powerful as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 â€“ meant that instead of a long war planners now anticipated a short, devastating attack on major cities.
The expectation of mutually assured destruction meant that the war rooms were both inadequately protected and seen as too small to support the large live-in staff that would be needed in the wake of a major nuclear strike.
Instead, they were replaced by a network of much larger bunkers known as Regional Government Headquarters. The Leeds war room was downgraded to the status of a sub-regional control centre which was subordinate to the local RGHQ at Shipton, near York.
After 1968 Leeds City Council took it over as a more localised control centre for Leeds itself and the bunker remained in use until about 1981, although only the upper level was occupied.
By the early 1990s it had been decommissioned as the threat of nuclear war was seen to have passed.
In 2011 it was one of only 4 still in existence, but, shamefully this fascinating and important legacy of the Cold War has recently been demolished.
By The Elusive
Visited very recently this place will be gone in a matter of days I dare say, everything else that was standing on the site has gone; the brick air raid shelters in front of the bunker included!
Having travelled pretty far from home to see something that has less in I was pretty surprised how much is left in there despite the demolition, really grateful I had the opportunity to check this out for myself
heres some history on the place, stole shamelessly from subbrit, its obviously outdated since the land has been sold!
"The War Room opened in the early 1950's but within a few years nuclear technology left it obsolete as the H bomb threat required a new breed of protected accommodation, the RSG. By 1958 it had became a sub regional control, subordinate to the RSG at York (See Shipton). It also acted as a Leeds City Council sub control, one of 4 in a ring around the city. (the others were houses). Joint Home Office and Civil Defence use is unusual. After 1968 it was no longer required until 1981 when the upper level was refitted as Leeds City Council Control (The lower level was not used). In theory it was available until the end of the cold war, but in practice it was unsuitable for the purpose, damp and rarely used.
The building is still in good external condition within its own locked compound. It is painted cream with three prominent ventilation towers on the east side and an external fixed ladder onto the roof.
The rear blast door has an overpressure gauge mounted on the wall alongside. This consists of a rubber tube which passes through the door; this is connected to a glass tube with a coloured liquid in it. Mounted alongside the tube is a graduated and calibrated rule. The liquid reacts to the pressure which can be read on the rule. There is a notice instructing people not to tamper with or remove the rule.
There are a further three rooms along this length of corridor, one appears to be a strong room and is locked, the other two are empty apart from filing cabinets, chairs and map/plan drawer. The corridor turns through 90 degrees and opens out into the kitchen/canteen. The kitchen area is at one end it has a long counter/preparation area, butler sink with two draining boards, a water heater and two plate racks. In the canteen area there are six tables and a locked floor standing metal cabinet. At the far end of the canteen is the final part of the upper ring corridor.
On the outer side of the corridor are three rooms that have been used for storage and still contain some architects models and furniture. Beyond these rooms is the second stairway down to the lower level. On the inner side of this corridor a door leads into one of two rooms with curved glass windows (designed to cut out reflection) overlooking the well below. This was the control room and is is the larger of the two rooms with its two windows still in place. There are 6 chairs and 4 Dexion racks containing files, plans and maps. Many of the maps (large scale ordnance survey) are strewn across the floor here and in several other rooms. The smaller of the two rooms is accessed from the control room and the ring corridor has had its window removed and boarded over. This appears to have been converted into a signals room with evidence of 6 acoustic booths (now removed) each with its own light.
The lower floor is flooded throughout to a depth of one foot; it also has a ring corridor. The two level operations room in the centre still retains a large angled wall board for the main map (now gone) with a step ladder for reaching the top sections of it; alongside this is a resources blackboard. On one wall there is a WB1400 carrier receiver and loudspeaker. The only remaining furniture is a single swivel chair and a rack of floor standing shelves.
Three small rooms with curved glass windows look into the operations room along one side, two of these are empty, the other still has two teleprinter tables with chairs. There would have been a fourth room with a window at one end but the window and frame has been removed to make a walk-through access into this room.
As with the upper floor, the ring corridor opens into a large rectangular room directly under the canteen. A sign on the door indicates this was a conference room and it still has chairs around all the walls. It has a message-passing window into the operations room, and two other adjoining rooms. There are five rooms accessed from the outside of the ring corridor, two are tank rooms and another is the GPO switchboard room which still retains a large switching frame and various wall boxes. The message basket is located in an alcove in the corridor wall.
Throughout the building is damp with paint peeling from the walls in places. "
more pics here ...http://www.the-elusive.uk/?p=5799