Site Records

Site Name: Brede Waterworks Bunker

East Sussex
[Source: Andrew Smith]

The bunker is opened regularly by Brede Steam Engine Society, along with the Giants of Brede steam pumping engines.

The Southern Water emergency control bunker at Brede Waterworks is cut into the side of a slope. It is single storey and was covered with earth after competition and is now grassed over. The bunker which was never completed is located next to the site entrance and apart from the 2 large ventilation shafts sticking up out of the ground there is now indication that the mound is anything more than a covered reservoir.

Photo: The entrance
Photo by Nick Catford

There is an escape shaft exit which opens out through a manhole cover on the grassed area. The entrance door is on the far side of the bunker away from the site entrance. The outer door is just a simple wooden door within conventional key operated lock but a couple of feet behind this is a substantial blast door. After entering through this door there is a small lobby, on the left are 2 decontamination showers with full length water jets and heavy duty slatted curtains. Water is provided by pushing a large lever. On the right another heavy blast door gives access to the generator room. In this room is a German made generator together with 4 large diesel fuel tanks full of diesel. There is also access to the bottom of both the ventilation shafts through small hatch type blast doors. Air intake vents were in the bottom of these shafts.

Back in the lobby straight on leads through another blast door into a smaller lobby and air lock A further blast door gives access into the bunker proper. The corridor has an inch of water on the floor. To the left are the toilets fully kitted out with chemical loos, wash basins with individual water filters and off this area is another small room with the cold water supply tanks. Straight in front is the mess area with a kitchen to the left of it and a serving hatch. The kitchen is not fitted out but the sink had a water filter for the clean water supply. A door on the left leads to a dormitory with wall mounted lights for the beds. Through the mess area is another dormitory with wall mounted lights for each of the bunks although there are no bunks in the building. Beyond this room is another room (purpose unknown) which had the escape shaft hatch in the corner.

Back at the entrance a corridor turns 90 degrees to the right and the first room on the right is the plant/power room. This room is totally complete and operational. Air filters with hand cranks in case the power failed, back up heavy duty batteries with power being fed into them, mains power input from the grid (100A 3 phase and 30A single phase) and remote control for the generator all in pristine condition and all unused. Going out of the plant room and turning right the nest door on the left leads into the mess area. The next door on the right is a small 6 bed dormitory (with more wall lights). The door at the end leads into a medium size room (purpose unknown) and a door to the left in this room leads back into the room with the escape shaft.

Photo: The Faraday Cage
Photo by Nick Catford

A door on the right leads into another medium size room and at the end of this room is an EMP chamber (Faraday cage). The chamber was empty apart from some power sockets, provision for running in the telephone cables (it was to be used to house the telephone equipment). When visited in 1999 there were 2 cardboard boxes on the floor containing plans of the bunker, othe original tender documents which were sent to potential contractors and copies of correspondence between Southern Water, the local council and a firm of surveyors concerning the rateable value of the bunker! Also in the box were 3 copies of the maintenance book which ran to around 100 pages plus all the booklets from the manufacturers about the air filtration and power plant installed.

Photo: Open Day
Photo by Mark Bennett

The bunker is in pristine condition throughout apart from a little water on the floor from a seepage problem. The lights work and the generator is turned over regularly. There is no vandalism anywhere as the bunker is kept locked and the site is secure.

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Last updated 10h October 2001

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