Buckinghamshire County Council: Emergency Control Centre (Standby)Beaconsfield
Site Visit Report: 23 March 2000
[Source: Andrew P Smith]
Today saw a group of 6 SB members visit no less than 6 sites in Buckinghamshire.
We started at 10am in Beaconsfield with the Buckinghamshire County Council standby emergency control centre. This is located underneath the County Council offices in the town. Entry is through a gas proof door (which would also offer some blast protection) and then down a flight of steps. At the bottom of the steps you turn left and are are faced with a second gas/blast door directly infront of you and the gents toilets on your left. It is unusual to see that the gents toilets were outside the protected area and I questioned this with our guide who explained that if the bunker had been put into use then everyone would have shared the ladies toilets which were just inside the second gas/blast door on the left.
Going through this door you are now at the top of a long corridor which almost every room in the bunker led off.
Our guide explained that as the Emergency Planning dept had rates exemption on the bunker they were careful only to have civil emergency equipment in store. The local RAYNET (Radio Amateurs) and Bucks Light Rescue groups had some of their equipment stored there and used it as a base. There was obviously a well established rapport between these organisations and the County Council.
The first door on the right led into a medium sized room that had a few comfy chairs and a desk with the visitors log book and further information on RAYNET. In store here were a number of maps belonging to the Council.
Photo: Communications room.
Photo by Nick Catford
A door from this room led into what was the communications room which housed the Faraday cage for telecoms and some of the RAYNET radio equipment. The original operator bays were still in place as were the 1960's lampshades above each position. A connecting door led into a large room which is currently used as a meeting area (More on this later). The whole bunker had a very authentic and original feel to it. A smaller room off this room housed further emergency equipment for RAYNET and the Light Rescue.
Back in the corridor the next door on the left led into the kitchen area. This was still used as a kitchen but had none of the original fixture or fittings. There was a small store off this room (full of cleaning equipment) and a second room which housed some of the original fittings of the bunker such as Bakelite ashtrays etc. There was no food stored there.
The next door on the right off the corridor led to a large room which is now being used as a conference room and is equipped with tables and chairs. A WTB 1304 unit was still attached to the wall and was in excellent condition as indeed was all the bunker. This room had a further room off it which used to be the scientific officers room although now it was full of map holders (the maps being in one of the earlier rooms awaiting transfer).
On the other side of the corridor was the mess area. This has an escape hatch in the roof with a steel ladder leading up to it. Our guide informed us how the hatch came out in the ladies toilets in the building above!
At the end of the corridor was the main ops room and what a room this was.....
Entering in one corner of the room in front of us were a large number of steel frame beds neatly stacked against the wall together with the matresses. Next to these were ex BT utilities emergency kits comprising of boxes of cutlery, plates, wash up kit etc enough in each box for one person for a month. On the wall were a number of charts and maps relating to civil defence including ROC post maps. Filing cabinets were full of paperwork relating to Civil Defence including the 'How to plot explosions on a Radiac map' reference books! There were also bomb blast meters and blast calculators stacked neatly in one corner. The WRVS and a charity doing collections for Bosnia had a small ammount of kit stored.
A room off this room contained the fresh water tank and a substantial amount of 'field kitchen' type kit including storm lanterns and metal feeding stations.
This bunker was in it's original condition and as it is well concealed has suffered no vandalism. We have fully documented and photographed the bunker which is totally secure and alarmed.
Once outside we photographed the plant room complete with generator (which has a separate access) and blast covers on the numerous vents.
[Source: Andrew P Smith]
Last updated 26th March 2001
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