Site Records

Bexley: Bexley Emergency Centre

Bexley Civic Office

RSG Site Visit Report: 11th January 2001

[Source: Nick Catford]

Photo: Entrance.
Photo by Nick Catford

This purpose-built bunker was constructed c.1953 in the Broadway Bexleyheath. When built it stood alone but the Bexley Civic Office has now been built on top of it although the only access (both main entrance and emergency exit) is from an enclosed open square in the centre of the complex. A stairway leads down through a heavy blast door giving access top the spine corridor. It was soon obvious that the layout of the bunker was very similar to that at nearby Gravesend which dates from the same period and is currently being converted into a museum. All the rooms are accessed from the main east - west corridor. The first room on the left is now used by Raynet and houses a number of small transceivers; it is also used to store redundant computer hardware. Next follows the male and female toilets; flushing toilets were fitted when the bunker was built and these still work as do the 1950's water heaters. The next room is the kitchen which still contains its original fittings including cooker, fridge, sink and a large curving wooden serving area. The next room on this side of the corridor is the small communications room which contains an SX2000 ECN unit and gives access to a second comms. room.

Back at the entrance, the first room on the south side of the corridor is the standby generator and ventilation plant room. The small Lister generator is located in a small 'cupboard' within this room making access difficult and at the far side of the room a door gives access to the aging ventilation plant.

The next room is the former dormitory which has now been stripped of its beds and put to other uses. There are two message passing windows into the adjacent room but these are no longer used and the center now employs a number of 'runners' to pass messages. The next two rooms form the control room with a linking door between them. These rooms contain a number of desks, telephones, a television, projector and screen, maps and charts.

Photo: Sick bay and emergency exit.
Photo by Nick Catford

The final room on this side of the corridor appears to be a general room containing a tilting bed to deal with injuries, a number of screens and the emergency exit hatch. This consists of a small blast door one foot up the end wall that gives access to a 30' horizontal concrete pipe which ends at a vertical shaft with a ladder up to the square above.

Regular exercises are still held in the bunker although the only time it might have been manned in a real emergency was in 2000 when an unexploded bomb was found near the town centre. Unfortunately it was too close to the bomb and although it could have withstood the blast, the civic offices were evacuated and the emergency was controlled from elsewhere.

[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last updated 27th March 2001

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